Yezidi community gets first religious temple, cemetery in Germany
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Yezidi (Ezidi) community in Germany is getting its first religious temple and cemetery in the town of Augsburg, local German media reported last week.
The temple is modeled after the holy tomb of Sheikh Adi in Lalesh, considered the holiest place for the Ezidis.
In addition to the temple, there is also a burial site for the ethnoreligious minority group at the Nordfriedhof cemetery.
Reiner Erben, who is responsible for the cemetery, told the Augsburger Allgemeine at the inauguration ceremony that the Ezidis had asked for a place at the cemetery to build the temple at their own expense.
He said the city wants the Ezidis to feel comfortable and be able to deal with death according to their traditions in the future.
There are over 40,000 Ezidis who live in Germany. Many arrived after the so-called Islamic State committed a genocide against the group in August 2014.
There are around 2,000 Ezidis who live in the town of Ausburg, which has its own Yezidi Cultural Union.
Eight Ezidis arrived in Germany’s Brandenburg State this week. In total, 71 are planning to settle in the German state. The decision was taken by the Brandenburg Parliament in 2016, but it was only implemented this year.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Ezidis.
Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled to neighboring countries in the region or 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 females across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Before the 2014 attack, there were roughly 550,000 Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. As the militant group took over large swaths of territory in Nineveh province, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Ezidi Rescue Office.
So far, 69 mass graves which contain the remains of Ezidis have been excavated along with untold numbers of individual graves.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany