November 16, 2014
Nineveh Valley, Iraq
ISIS fighters demolished, Sheikh Hassan temple (also knows as Sheikh Sin), an 800 year-old Yazidi temple in the Iraqi village of Babila after they taking control over vast swathes of the Nineveh Valley at the beginning of August 2014. The extremist group destroyed the neighboring temple known as Sheikh Makhfi as well.
Residents of the Nineveh Valley, largely consisting of minority groups, started returning to their towns at the end of October, after Kurdish Peshmerga forces drove out ISIS militants, to find their properties razed to the ground or looted.
Hassan, Caretaker of the Sheikh Hassan (Sheikh Sin) temple, (man, Arabic):
“This shrine is [dedicated to] Sheikh Hassan. In the distant past, this man was a good person – a benefactor who helped Yazidi people carry out their religious duties.This was about 700 or 800 years ago. It is located in the village of Babira. Yezidis used to visit this shrine once or twice a year, [or] every Wednesday and Friday. This photo shows Sheikh Hassan’s shrine in the old times. How do I feel? We only stood and cried. What can I say? We only cried. We could not even talk. No one was able to say anything. “ Jassen Silou, Caretaker of the Sheikh Makhfi temple, (man, Arabic)
“We are Iraqis; no one could say that we are not Iraqis. We came here in the era of the prophets. We have been in Iraq since before Adam and Eve. Until now, we and the Arabs are brothers and neighbors, but they broke the law; they broke the law. This place is holy for us, regardless of whether it has been blown up or not. On Wednesdays people come here and light fire; it is called ‘the wick.’ They also come to light ‘the wick’ on Friday, at sunset. These are the holy days for us, Yazidis – Wednesdays and Fridays. This is an old thing; something historic. We did not start this yesterday."
00:00 - 02:04 Various shots of Sheikh Hassan (Sheikh Sin) temple
02:05 - 03:46 Various shots of Sheikh Makhfi temple