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Rudaw

Kurdistan

KRG’s Jewish representation 'suspends' office in Kurdistan

By Rudaw 16/2/2017
The Jewish  representtaion held the first ever Holocaust ceremony in Kurdistan Region in 2015. During the ceremony, for the first time since decades Jews were openly wearing their yarmulke (kippah) in Kurdistan. Photo: Rudaw
The Jewish representtaion held the first ever Holocaust ceremony in Kurdistan Region in 2015. During the ceremony, for the first time since decades Jews were openly wearing their yarmulke (kippah) in Kurdistan. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The official representative of the Jewish community has announced that they have suspended their representation at the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Religious Affairs indefinitely for “some reasons” without giving any further details.
 
“Because of some reasons we have suspended our representation at the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs until an undeclared time,” Sherzad Omar Mamsani announced on his Facebook page on Thursday.
 
The representation was opened in 2015 after the Kurdish parliament passed a law officially recognizing the Jewish community with full ethno-religious rights, along other minority religions.
 
Nabaz Ismail, the spokesperson for the ministry told Rudaw English that they have not been notified officially of the suspension.
 
Ismail said Mamsani was conducting his official duties when he last saw him a few days ago.
 
Mariwan Naqshbandi, a senior official at the ministry, however was aware of some issues that Mamsani raised with him as recently as yesterday, mainly about “the lack of funding” to their representation. 

Naqshbandi noted that Mamsani did not inform his ministry officially, adding that the Kurdish authorities have not been able to provide financial support because of the ongoing financial crisis. 

The region is in the third year of an economic crisis and the government is operating under austerity measures.
 
Naqshbandi claimed another person, who was also co-named the representative of the Jewish community, is now responsible for Jewish affairs at the ministry. Ismail was unaware if there is a second “official” representative.
 
Rudaw English tried multiple times to contact Mamsani for comment, but he was unavailable.
 
Commenting on the issue of protecting the religious sites of the Jewish community in Kurdistan, Mamsani told Rudaw English last month that the KRG would like to help the Jewish community but it is for now constrained financially.
 
The representation held the first Jewish Remembrance Day for Victims of the Holocaust in Kurdistan last year in Erbil, which was also attended by the representatives of the American, French and Russian consulates in Erbil, as well as of Assyrian and Armenian churches in the region.

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Omer | 16/2/2017
We now why Mamsani left because no money for him anymore. There was already reports that this jewish representative sent goverment money from KRG to Canada and Israel which dameged Kurdish economy. Maybe this money is also used by Israel for the production of weapons that are send to Turkey. Most of Turkeys tanks jets and unmanned drones with which they bomb Kurds and help ISIS are from Israel. Check yourself how many tons of weapons Israel supplied and still supplies to Turkey.
Mohamedzzz | 16/2/2017
Kurds should be prepared for another betrayal.
Celo | 16/2/2017
KRG financed a office that represents a community that does not exist in Kurdistan??? No surprise that KRG have a financial crisis.
Mamsani should be fired ASAP. | 16/2/2017
Good for KRG--finally! This "Jewish" person did not do anything except get his photo taken in news outlets, make some half-assed commemorations, neglected true heritage sites like Nahum's Tomb/Synagogue, and originally hired some inexperienced college student named Zach Huff who also liked to get his picture taken. Lack of funding?! If he was half as professional as western and some Jewish news outlets claimed he was, then funding would not be an issue. He was and is a complete joke and the KRG lost valuable time and opportunities time and time again due to this person's carelessness and lack of professionalism and unclear goals and motives.
Kurd | 17/2/2017
Kurds and jews are brothers, but please Israel. Do not support Turkey against PKK and YPG.
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