With ISIS militarily defeated in Iraq, a project initially funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government to rehabilitate the Yazidi Lalish temple has re-commenced.
The Lalish Temple, located in the Sheikhan District of Dohuk Province in northern Iraq, is known to be the holiest site for Yazidis. It was damaged by ISIS during the terrorist group’s insurgency in the region a number of years ago. The recent period of stability has paved the way for the renovation of the Lalish Temple, a significant site for the Yazidi people and their identity.
Yazidis from around the region have come to join efforts to rehabilitate the Lalish Temple once they heard of the project:
“We have been here for more than a month and we came after we learned of the rehabilitation of the temple. This is a holy place and we seek to obtain blessings and serve the Lord. We try to hide the concrete with these stones to preserve its old heritage”, said Dawud Suleiman.
The rehabilitation process has been going on for about a month and the funds were donated by Yazidi donors. Moreover, the process has been supervised by a volunteer engineering team. The rehabilitation plans were developed a few years ago by a German engineering team that carried out a full study of the historical and architectural values of the temple.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had also contributed to the rehabilitation process by allocating $15 million in 2014, however this project was violently interrupted by the arrival of ISIS terrorists.
The Lalish Temple is regarded as a pilgrimage site by Yazidis, who conduct a six-day pilgrimage there to visit the tomb of Sheikh Adi, a celebrated and saintly figure for Yazidis.
Yazidis suffered greatly at the hands of ISIS over the past few years as they were targeted and subject to massacres, the most prominent of which took place in Sinjar. Many have now returned to their homes and have been involved in reconstructing and rehabilitating their areas.