Three of our team walked into the gathering of about a hundred Kurdish peace and justice activists at the Cultural CafĂ©, in Suleimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, to celebrate the International Day of Peace. Immediately, Nyan Mohammad, a teacher at the Arbat School, waved for us to come to sit at her table. There, four displaced Ezidis (often called Yazidis) we had met before stood up and warmly greeted us. Nyan, who is Muslim, made a special trip to the tent camp for displaced persons this afternoon to pick up this group and bring them to this event, which focused on building peace among religious groups
Hosting this event was a Kurdish womenâ€™s organization, called the Ashti Group. The speakers included persons from four religious groups among Iraqi Kurdsâ€” An Ezidi, a member of the Kakaâ€™i, (a Kurdish minority religion), a Muslim, and a Christian. They each urged us not to judge people from other religions, but to live together in tolerance and harmony. Their message was not theoretical but spoke to a real need of a society racked with ethnic violence.
|Far right: Kurdish team colleague Parween Aziz; next to her, Peggy Gish. Second from left,|
Nyan Mohammad, plus four Ezidi friends