Northern Iraq’s Yazidi community celebrated the inaugurating of one of its temples on Friday after it was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2014.
The Bashiqa temple was one of those destroyed when IS took control over Mosul and other areas in Iraq.
Friday’s ceremony at the temple, which is 15 kilometres from Mosul, was a symbol of revival and defiance. As 21-year-old Jihan Sinan said, “This ceremony shows that life has returned despite the terrorism of IS and its bloody attacks.”
Some 68 temples were destroyed under IS, and 23 of them have since been restored.
There were around 550,000 Yazidis in Iraq before they were scattered due to IS attacks. Thousands were killed and thousands more women were abducted as sex slaves.
The religion affairs ministry in Iraqi Kurdistan said that almost 360,000 Yazidis were displaced in 2014, with 100,000 leaving Iraq entirely.
Only 3,207 have been rescued or managed to flee their captors out of the 6,417 who were reported kidnapped by the Jihadists.
The Yazidi faith originated in Iran and Iraq some 4,000 years ago, and is derived from Zoroastrianism. Over the years, it has integrated elements of Christianity and Islam.
Photo credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development (picture: Rachel Unkovic/International Rescue Committee) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.