Despite numerous protests, in a ceremony held today at Lalish Temple, Ali Elias was anointed as the new ‘Baba-Shékh’, the supreme spiritual leader of all Ezidis in the world.
Lalish Temple is located in Shékhan district, Nineveh province. The ceremony was attended by Hazim Tahseen, the Ezidi ‘Mir’ (prince), and the Ezidi High Spiritual Council.
Harman Mirza, a deputy of the Ezidi Mir, told KirkukNow: “The ceremony to appoint the Baba-Shékh was held, it includes the wearing of the Baba-Shékh attire by Shékh Ali Elias and the reciting of a number of religious texts.”
Meanwhile, many Ezidis in Shingal, including religious figures, tribal chiefs and military commanders object to the appointment and do not recognize Ali Elias as the new Baba-Shékh due to “political meddling” and “neglecting” their opinions on the matter. They also refuse to recognize the new Mir who was appointed last year.
The Ezidis in Shingal had been asking for the anointment ceremony to be delayed to Ezidis reach consensus and to “preserve the unity among Ezidis.”
“From today, shékh Ali is the spiritual father and Baba-Shékh of Ezidis, which is the highest religious position. He will have complete authority over religious affairs. We are certain he will be approved by everyone,” Mirza added.
a press conference by Ali Elias after his anointment
The appointment of a ‘baba-Shékh’ is done by the Ezidi Mir in consultation with religious figures and tribal chiefs.
At a press conference held after his anointment, Ali Elias said: “There are two great tasks on my path: First, I will do my best to preserve unity and consensus among Ezidis. Second, rescuing the women and girls who haven’t been rescued yet.”
Those objecting to the appointment have held a meeting in Shingal recently and threatened of having a strong stance if the anointment ceremony would be held.
Most of Ezidis in Iraq live in Shingal district, west of Mosul in Nineveh province, and Shékhan district in Nineveh.