ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani congratulated members of the Yezidi (Ezidi) religious minority on the celebration beginning on Sunday known as The Gathering and Feast of Seven Days.
Also known as the Jamayi or the Ziyaret, the week-long observance is a sacred time when Ezidis make a pilgrimage to the temple of Lalish to unite as one people. Lalish, the Ezidi's most holy site, is located in the Kurdistan Region's province of Duhok.
Barzani said, “I extend my deepest and warmest congratulations to my Ezidi brothers and sisters in Kurdistan and all over the world and wish them an enjoyable celebration.”
“In the past few years,” he continued, “our Ezidi brothers and sisters have suffered much and faced dark days. We are hoping that, under the symbol of coexistence in the Kurdistan Region, they can put those days behind them.”
“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will do everything in its power to ease their burden and anguish and to strengthen the harmony and coexistence among all the different ethnicities and religions in the Kurdistan Region,” added Barzani.
There are about one million Ezidis worldwide, with almost half of them living in Iraq and the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on the Ezidi city of Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the religious community. Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring countries or in Western states.
Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone, where they experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years. Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Editing by John J. Catherine