Romani people in Iraq

Romani (Kawliya / Zott / Ghorbati)
in Iraq
Total population
50,000+ (est.)
Arabic and Domari
Related ethnic groups
Romani in Syria

The Kawliya , Qawliya or Awaz, Keche-Hjälp (Arabic: كاولية or كاولي‎), also known as Zott and Ghorbati (known in English as Gypsies), is a community in Iraq of Indian origin, estimated to number over 60,000 people. Today they speak mostly Arabic, while their ethnolect is a mixture of Persian, Kurdish and Turkish, only spoken by the older generations. The largest tribes are the Bu-Baroud, Bu-Swailem, Bu-Helio, Bu-Dakhil, Bu-Akkar, Bu-Murad, Bu-Thanio, Bu-Shati, Al-Farahedah, Al-Mtairat, Bu-Khuzam, Bu-Abd, Bu-Nasif, Bu-Delli and Al-Nawar. Their main occupation is entertainment, and also small trades.

The Kawliya migrated from India approximately 1,000 years ago.

Kawliya is also the name of a former village in the Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate near Al Diwaniyah, located about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, where they live.[1]

See also[]


  1. ^ Shadid, Anthony (3 April 2004). "In a Gypsy Village's Fate, An Image of Iraq's Future". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2016.

Further reading[]