The Kurdish Ministry of Religious Affairs on Sunday denied reports that a recent decision to dismiss the Jewish community representative of the semi-autonomous region of Iraq was aimed at appeasing Baghdad.
Nabaz Ismael Kamal, a ministry spokesperson, told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday that Sherzad Omar Mamsani’s dismissal was a “purely administrative” move and that the position would be filled again once an appropriate candidate had been found.
“The decision to remove Mamsani was purely administrative. It has nothing to do with Baghdad or any other parties,” he said.
Mamsani, who filled the post as a volunteer for two years from October 2015, told Kurdistan 24 that he submitted a resignation letter seven months ago that the ministry refused to accept.
He left Kurdistan on October 2017 for cancer treatment overseas, following which, “In December, the Ministry announced my dismissal, stating that I had been absent for two months,” Mamsani added.
Mamsani, who claims Jewish ancestry and has visited Israel several times, was one of seven religious minority representatives whose posts were created by the Kurdistani parliament in 2015.
The others are Muslims, Christians, Yezidis (Ezidis), Zoroastrians, Kakai (Yarsan), Baha’i, and Sabaeans.
The Jewish representative’s position is unique in that its aim is to unite Kurds whose Jewish grandparents converted to Islam.
After most of the Jews left the region in the 1950s, those who remained converted to Islam. Many are too scared to proclaim that they are Jews.