A senior officer at the Board of Deputies has said he was pleased to show “solidarity” with the Yazidi community at an event in Iraq this week.
Board vice-president Edwin Shuker, an Iraqi Jew who was driven out of Baghdad as a child, addressed the Rudaw International Conference on the Yazidi Genocide in the city of Erbil.
The city is in the Kurdistan region of the shattered country, not far from where Islamic State militants drove up to 50,000 Kurdish-speaking Yazidis from their home in Sinjar in 2014.
In scenes that horrified the world, the isolated community fled to nearby mountains but not before many were captured and enslaved. Others, particularly the elderly and infirm who were unable to complete the arduous journey, were executed by Islamic State forces.
Shuker told the conference that he too was forced to leave behind “our homes, our language, our shrines, our culture and heritage going back 2,600 years”.
Warning against ethnic divisions, he said: “A society that tolerates intolerance and downplays racism will not stop at one component of that society.”
Speaking to Jewish News after the event, he said: “Indigenous minorities in the Middle East are under existential danger of disappearing. A Jewish voice of solidarity was very much appreciated.”