ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish teacher on Saturday broke the world record of the longest string of prayer beads, 800 meters long, to mark the Anfal genocide in the Kurdistan Region.
Hunar Sharafani, a Kurdish teacher in Duhok province, introduced his creation at a park in front of the over 4,000-year-old Erbil citadel.
Sharafani told Kurdistan 24, “I have been busy creating the tasbih for three years,” using the word for prayer beads used by Muslims.
He explained that he constructed it "with 182,000 beads, equivalent to the number of Kurdish victims during the Anfal genocide campaign in the 1980s,” and said that he undertook the endeavor to honor the victims of the atrocity.
According to Guinness World Records, the longest string of prayer beads until now had been completed in 2009 by Saudi craftsman Mohammed Alasiri in 2009, measuring 150 meters long and including 1,500 beads.
In 2007, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) declared April 14 to be a yearly day of remembrance of the Anfal campaign, conducted by the former Baath regime of Iraq as a series of systematic attacks against the people of the Kurdistan Region that took place between 1986-1988.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Iraqi government systematically killed about 100,000 non-combatant civilians including women and children, but later investigations conducted by researchers in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq show a much higher figure, approximately 182,000 people.
Every year, Kurds in the region and the diaspora commemorate the genocide with various activities including standing on the street in silence at 9:00 am to honor the victims.
Editing by John J. Catherine
(Zerdasht Hame contributed to this report)