ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Friday congratulated the Kakai religious minority on the occasion of Qultas (The Three Nights Day), during which the faithful spend three days fasting.
"I extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to all Kakai brothers and sisters on the occasion of Eid (Qultas), said Barzani, in a statement.
"The Kakai brothers and sisters are an integral component of the Kurdish nation, and their rights are protected in light of the national and religious coexistence in the Kurdistan Region."
Kakais follow Yarsanism, a religion founded in the late 14th century in what is now western Iran and now live primarily in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Members residing in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq's disputed territories are usually considered to be Kurdish in ethnicity.
Having suffered religious persecution from multiple directions, both historically and in recent years, members of the community have often sought to avoid attention by keeping their practices secret.
They are among the many minorities in Iraq that were systematically targeted by the Islamic State but without garnering the same level of news coverage and general awareness as with other more well-known groups. A significant number of Kakai families evacuated their villages in Kirkuk's Daquq district following the militant group's rise to prominence in 2014.
In the summer of 2018, members of the Kakai community in the disputed province of Kirkuk called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the federal government of Iraq, the United Nations (UN), and civil society organizations to protect them from being targeted again by the Islamic State.
In a statement received by Kurdistan 24, they said that their lives were in danger as the jihadist group was continuously targeting them in the area.