TBILISI, Georgia — A steady stream of visitors spilled from the marble entrance of the Yazidi temple on Aug. 3 in Varketili, a suburb of the Georgian capital. Opened this June, the Sultan Yazid Temple is only one of a handful of Yazidi places of worship in the world. The Yazidi community was out in force that day to mark the first anniversary of the Islamic State’s (IS) genocidal attack against them in Iraq.
Following Mosul's fall to IS, in August 2014 the extremist group's fighters descended on the predominantly Yazidi area of northern Iraq. As the world watched, IS slaughtered some 3,000 Yazidi men and abducted 5,000 women and children. Thousands of fleeing Yazidis remained stranded in the desolate Sinjar Mountains as IS continued working toward the systematic eradication of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. To commemorate this episode in Yazidi history, in the community center adjacent to the new temple in Tbilisi, Yazidis and representatives of other confessions held flowers and candles in honor of the victims. Their photographs lined the walls. Some are depicted just seconds before their execution.