After the liberation of their areas from ISIS, the Ezidis in Nineveh Province are rebuilding their holiest temple, the Temple of Lalish. The reconstruction initiative was led by the Ezidis spiritual leader Baba Chawish and funded by private donors and Ezidi charities.
Ezidis gather every day at their holiest temple, Lalish, in Duhok governorate to completely reconstruct the dome witnessed destruction by the Islamic State (ISIS) militants when they overran the plain of Nineveh in the summer of 2014.
Ezidis’ spiritual leader Baba Chawish said the reconstruction of the temple was decided by the Mir of Ezidis as there are some parts of the temple which need to be reconstructed.
Charities launched by the Ezidis and Mir monetary as well as private donor set up the initiative to fund the reconstruction, said Chawish, criticizing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi government for not providing them with assistance in the last four years.
He said any buildings over the temple will be preserved in their original form.
Since the ISIS emergency in 2014, as many as 68 temples and public centers of worship belonging to the Ezidis have been demolished and another 85 churches as well as three cemeteries belonging to the Christians have been destroyed by the militant group.
The Ezidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.
Islamic State (ISIS) has systematically killed, captured, or enslaved thousands of Ezidis when it overran the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq in August 2014.
Proclaiming a theocratic caliphate based on a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam, ISIS has tried to erase the Ezidis’ identity by forcing men to choose between conversion to Islam or death, raping girls as young as nine, selling women at slave markets, and drafting boys to fight.