Yezidi population plants roots in Lincoln with land purchase

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MALCOLM, Neb. -- The Yezidi people fled Iraq in 2014. One year later, they created their organization, United Yezidi Community of America, and found a new home in Lincoln.

Now the capital city is the largest Yezidi community in the country. On Saturday they brought more of their customs to the husker state with the first official Yezidi cemetery.

They said this new land is very important, and the first step to bringing their culture to Nebraska.

"I think it's important for the Yezidi community regardless of where they are. They have to have their own cemeteries," said Alias Aldakhi, President of the United Yezidi Community of America.

Aldakhi said the reason they wanted their own cemetery isn't about religion, it comes down to money.

"Another cemetery will cost them $10 thousand. So most of these fees will be waived because the land is free basically for all the Yezidis," said Aldakhi.

Another big factor for starting their own cemetery, was the fact that returning home to Iraq is no longer a possibility. They said they know Nebraska is their new and permanent home.

"Honestly we have to have it, we have to have this land in here if we not planning to go back," said Faisal Rasho, member of UYCA.

This 20 acres of land though purchased by the Yezidi's will not only be a cemetery, the UYCA says the burial site is just the first step.

"Now our second goal is to build a shrine inside this cemetery land," said Aldakhi.

Along with the shrine, Aldakhi said they hope to build a temple on the land, and another building for all Yezidi holidays and community meetings.

Parts of this video were shot by Music in Exile, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C.

Music in Exile documents the songs and stories of people displaced by war and sectarian violence. They were in Lincoln to record Yezidi musicians.

For more on their work and organization go to musicinexile.org