Among the other religious groups are the Sabean Mandeans, the Bahai, Sunni and Shia Muslims, Jews and various Christian denominations. Some of them are referred to in the Iraqi constitution. Several numerical minorities also have a quota of representation in both the national and the Kurdish regional parliaments. Since 2015, the Yazidi and six other religious minorities have also had their own representative in the Kurdish regional ministry for religious affairs. Some of these groups still experience discrimination and harsh conditions.
“Yazidis are part of Iraq’s rich diversity,” says Miriam Puttick at Minority Rights Group Intl.
As part of its attacks on the Yazidi and other religious minorities, including Christians and Muslims, the terror organization destroyed a number of religious sites. Due to war and terror and, not least, to the ISIS’ genocide of the Yazidi minority, there has been a dramatic decline in the representation of these different groups over the last decade, threatening Iraqi diversity.
Mark Lattimer on the vulnarable situation for Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq
Still, the religious diversity is expressed in the old buildings on holy sites of the various traditions. This is visible for instance in the Kurdish main city, Erbil, but also in a number of other places like Alqosh and Bashiqa.
The work of the Inter-Faith Council of Iraq is one example of initiatives that celebrates diversity as a central component of Iraqi common identity.
The Alliance of Iraqi Minorities is among the civil society initiatives that aims to preserve both ethnic and religious diversity and to help rebuild trust among different components of society.
A number of local initiatives, not least among youth, also give hope for a revival of the old Iraqi tradition for co-existence in the future. In October 2018 a group of young students, Muslim, Yazidi and Christian, in northern Iraq organized an excursion to visit each other’s holy places. The photo gallery below offers a glimpse from these visits:
Here are a few selected recent reports and films addressing issues related to the Yazidi case. In the case and topic sections you will find links to other relevant external resources.