Iraqi Yazidis celebrate restoration of temple destroyed by Daesh

Iraqi Yazidis visit their temple during a ceremony on January 12, 2018, in the town of Bashiqa, some 20 kilometres north east of Mosul. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Iraqi Yazidis celebrate restoration of temple destroyed by Daesh

BASHIQA, Iraq: Northern Iraq’s Yazidi community that suffered so terribly under Daesh group persecution celebrated on Friday as it inaugurated a restored temple to the sound of traditional drums and flutes.
Overlooked by conical domes of polished stone, hundreds of men in dishdasha robes and women veiled in white gathered at the site which was blown up by the rampaging jihadists in 2014.
The temple at Bashiqa was one of 68 Yazidi temples destroyed by Daesh, officials said — and one of the last of 23 in the region to be restored.
The Yazidi community in Iraq comprised some 550,000 people before it was scattered by the Daesh offensive.
Orthodox Muslims consider the peacock to be a demon figure and refer to Yazidis as devil-worshippers.
Daesh group murdered Yazidis in their thousands in 2014 and abducted thousands of women and teenage girls to make them sex slaves.
According to the religious affairs ministry in Iraqi Kurdistan, some 360,000 Yazidis were displaced by the fighting with 100,000 leaving the country.
Of 6,417 Yazidis reported kidnapped by the jihadists, just 3,207 have been rescued or managed to escape their captors. Half of those still missing are women and girls, the ministry said.
It also said that to date 47 mass graves of Yazidis massacred by Daesh have been discovered.
UN investigators have said the Daesh assault on the Yazidis was a premeditated effort to exterminate an entire community — crimes that amount to genocide.
Friday’s ceremony at the temple in the Bashiqa area some 15 kilometers (nine miles) east of Iraq’s second city Mosul was an act of both revival and defiance.
“This ceremony shows that life has returned despite the terrorism of IS and its bloody attacks,” said 21-year-old Jihan Sinan.
Around her, families posed for pictures as traditional dishes and sweets were handed out and celebrants danced to the tunes of traditional flutes.
Religious leader Ali Rashwakari, 72, urged the international community to help “rebuild the temples and Yazidi regions” of Iraq.


Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in a blast in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Hezbollah names Beirut street after Rafiq Hariri assassin

  • The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News

BEIRUT: Pro-Hezbollah politicians in south Beirut were accused of provocation on Tuesday for naming a street after the assassin who plotted the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

To rub salt in the wound, the street is adjacent to the city’s Rafiq Hariri University Hospital. Hariri’s son, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, described the decision by Ghobeiry municipality as “sedition.” 

Hezbollah commander and bomb-maker Mustafa Badreddine was described last week by the prosecution at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague as “the main conspirer” in the assassination of Hariri, who died when his motorcade was blown up in central Beirut in February 2005. Badreddine himself was murdered in Damascus in 2016.

The decision to name the street after him was “unconstitutional” and “an unnecessary act of provocation,” a source at the Interior Ministry told Arab News.

“There is no precedent for resorting to these methods in naming streets, especially when the name is the subject of political and sectarian dispute between the people of Lebanon and may pose a threat to security and public order.”

A Future Movement official said: “What has happened proves that Hezbollah has an absurd mentality. There are people in Lebanon who care about the country, and others who don’t. This group considers the murderers of Rafiq Hariri its heroes, but they are illusory heroes.”