The new Baba-Shékh to visit Shingal soon

Shékhan, November 2020 – Ali Elias during inauguration as Ezidi Baba-Shékh – photo: Rakan Shékhani

Karwan Ba'adri - Nineveh

The new Ezidi supreme spiritual leader, known as Baba-Shékh, is planning to visit Shingal to attempt removing doubts about the manner of his appointment. But, those opposing his appointment call for delaying his visit.

Many Ezidis in Shingal, including tribal leaders and military commanders, object to the manner in which Ali Elias was appointed as Baba-Shékh, and don’t recognize Hazim Tahseen as their Mir, due to “meddling by political parties” and ignoring their views in both appointment processes.

Ali Elias was officially inaugurated as Baba-Shékh in a religious ceremony on 18 November 2020.

Arkan Elias, a brother of Ali Elias, told KirkukNow that the “Baba-Shékh has decided to go to Shingal even if it costs him his life,” because “Ezidi unity and unanimity are above everything for him.”

"We don’t know when the visit will take place, but once a date is set, he will go and we don’t believe that anyone will stand in his way because it is a religious decision and he is going to unify all Ezidis," according to Arkan Alias, and that in the wake “talk about a split among Ezidis with the aim of further setting Ezidis apart.”

Those who took issue with the way Ali Elias was appointed were demanding his inauguration ceremony, for “the sake of Ezidi unity,” and threatened of having a “strong stance” in case the inauguration would continue.

Baba-Shékh has decided to go to Shingal even if it costs him his life

The Baba-Shékh position is the highest spiritual Ezidi position.

Khalaf Bahri, the custodian of Sharafadin Temple in Shingal and one of the critics of the manner the new Baba-Shékh was appointed, told KirkukNow that from the religious point of view, preventing Baba-Shékh from visiting Shingal is difficult for them, but that the dissenting voices cannot be concealed either.

“We don’t like if someone like Baba-Shékh who is wearing the sacred attire comes to Shingal and something unpleasant happens. That’s why it’s better if he delays his visit until the situation settles down.”

Bahri added that they don’t have anything against the person of Baba-Shékh, but they take issue with the manner of his appointment. “We had a disagreement with Hazim Tahseen on the mechanism of appointing Baba-Shékh. But there is an attempt by Shingal and Hazim Tahseen to resolve the issue. Whenever the issue is resolved, the Baba-Shékh can visit Shingal.”

Most Ezidis in Iraq live in Shingal district, west of Mosul in Nineveh province, and Shékhan district in Nineveh.

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