Azadi
Head to the back of Nashville's Azadi International Food Market and find a Kurdish bakery, complete with a tandoor oven. Drost Kokoye, a Kurdish American who grew up in Nashville, remembers when there was just one bakery catering to Kurdish tastes. “It was just one little small, hot closet,” she says.
Credit:

Monica Campbell

Kirmanj Gundi
Kirmanj Gundi, left, pictured in Iraq’s Kurdish region, during a picnic. He fled Sadaam Hussein’s repression against the Kurds and was resettled in Nashville in August 1977. He is now a professor at Tennessee State University’s College of Education. In a recent open letter to President Barack Obama, he wrote: “After the invasion of Iraq and toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein, America ‘won the war’ but could not ‘win the peace,’ because America did not have an adequate understanding of the historical hatred between Shi’as and Sunnis and the distrust between the Arabs and Kurds. America continued to push these entities to remain together without helping them develop a viable solution respected by all."
Credit:

Muhammad T. Zebari

Salahadeen
Friday prayer at the Salahadeen Center in Nashville.
Credit:

Monica Campbell

Osman
Salah Osman, the imam at the Salahadeen Center, in Nashville, after delivering Friday sermons.
Credit:

Monica Campbell

Suleyman
Remziya Suleyman, a community organizer in Nashville, fled Iraq’s Kurdish region in the 1980s, escaping war. She has seen the city’s Kurdish population grow ever since. “I remember just the mosque and that’s all we had,” she says. “And now here we are, and you’re seeing all these shops, and a community that has grown.”
Credit:

Monica Campbell

Suleyman
Remziya Suleyman, to the left, in a traditional Kurdish outfit in the mid-1990s. She and her family left Kurdistan in the 1980s for Tennessee. The city now houses the largest Kurdish American community in the US, as years of war and refugee resettlement have strengthened ethnic ties in the area.
Credit:

Monica Campbell

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