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The New Arab

Jewish community seeking synagogue in Iraqi Kurdistan

Kurdish Jews marked 71 years since the expulsion Jews from Iraqi Kurdistan region [AFP]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2016

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The Jewish community in Iraqi Kurdistan seeks to build a synagogue in Ebril, the ministry of religious affairs said on Friday.
Representatives of the Jewish community in Iraq's Kurdistan region submitted a formal request to open a synagogue in Ebril, an official from the Iraqi Kurdistan's ministry of religious affairs said on Friday.

"Representatives from the Jewish community put forward a request to build a synagogue in the city of Erbil and although they have the right to it, the ministry is yet to agree to issue the licence," the ministry's spokesperson Mariwan Naqshbandi told The New Arab.

"The ministry of religious affairs includes representatives from eight religious communities, including the Jewish community," Naqshbandi said. "Therefore, they have the right to get the licence request approved to build a synagogue."

However the request was not immediately granted and remains pending.

The minority group in the Iraqi Kurdistan region marked on Wednesday the anniversary of 71 years since the expulsion of Kurdish Jews from the area.

The representative of the Jewish community urged authorities to "officially recognise their compulsory expulsion and genocide".

Shirzad Mamsani said the commemoration was also "an opportunity to remind the world of the suffering of the Jews".

In the early 1950s tens of thousands of Kurdish Jews immigrated to Israel following anti-Jewish policies enacted by the Iraqi government in the aftermath of the first Arab-Israeli war.

The Kurdish region of Iraq is currently home to some 400 Jewish families.

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