Thursday, August 30, 2007


Yazidis celebrate religious rituals under tight security

Security, Religion
(Voices of Iraq) - The Yazidi community in Iraq celebrated on Tuesday the 'Night of Blessings' at the holy temple of Lalsh, amidst tight security measures that were put in place after recent bombings killed and injured hundreds of Yazidis in Sinjar.
Bishmam from the Supreme Yazidi Spiritual Council said the rituals were significantly reduced during this year's celebration due to the deteriorating security situation and the attacks that targeted the Yazidi community in mid-August. "Some members of the choir were even unable to attend," he indicated.
A member of the security forces that was assigned to protect the temple told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) that they were given strict orders to search and secure the area. "The tense atmosphere prevented many from attending the celebration this year, unlike previous years when scores of people converged on the temple to take part in the celebrations that would last until the early hours of the next morning," he said.
The holy temple of Lalsh is located 50 km north of Mosul. Giving brief background to the celebration, Samir Sheikh Sharwo, a researcher in Yazidi history from Mosul University, said 'Shab-e-Bara'at' is the night between 14 and 15 Shabaan [The 8th month of the Hijri calendar] where Yazidis celebrate the advent of Sheikh Hassan, who gave religious teachings after a six-year absence from his people, according to Yazidi religious beliefs.
Yazidis are primarily ethnic Kurds and most live near Mosul, with smaller communities in Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey. They number around 500,000 individuals in total, but estimates of their population size vary, partially due to the Yazidi tradition of secrecy about their religious beliefs.
Four truck bombs were detonated on August 14, 2007 in Kar Izir area, 35 km south of Sinjar, and at the Siba Sheikh Khidr housing compound, killing or injuring more than 800. Sinjar, 120 km northwest of Mosul, is inhabited by Yazidis, a religious minority whose followers are generally situated in northern Iraq. Some 350,000 Yazidis live in villages around Mosul, 405 km north of Baghdad.

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