We’ve posted previously about the Yezidis (also spelled Yazidis), a non-Muslim non-Christian religious minority in northern Iraq. Life for the Yezidis has been precarious since the fall of Saddam Hussein, but it became much worse after ISIS, now the Islamic State, entered Kurdish territory in Iraq.
One of the avowed goals of the Islamic State is to exterminate all shirk, which is the blasphemous association of other entities with Allah in any religious worship. Shiites are mushrikun (practitioners of shirk), due to their devotion to the tombs of past imams, as are Christians (because of the Trinity) and Yezidis (due to their devotion to seven angels). Over the past few days ISIS has attacked Yezidis in Sinjar and driven them into barren mountainous areas where many have died of thirst.
The following video shows a heart-rending appeal made by a Yezidi woman during a session of the Iraqi parliament:
Below are excerpts from four articles about the attempted genocide against the Yezidis. First, from BasNews:
Iraq: Since Sinjar Takeover IS Militant Kills 300 Yazidi Kurds
The death rate of Yazidi Kurds in the city of Sinjar climbs to over 300, the path being carved by Islamic State militants a brutal and difficult road leaving the minority group will few options for survival.
These mass killings have taken place not only in Sinjar city itself, but also surrounding villages and communities such as Siba Sheikh Khdr, Grzarg and Gr Ozair.
And from News24:
40 Iraqi Children Killed After Jihadist Attack — UN
Baghdad — Forty children from northern Iraq’s Yazidi minority are reported to have died as a result of a jihadist attack on the Sinjar region, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Tuesday.
“According to official reports received by Unicef, these children from the Yazidi minority died as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days,” a statement said.
On Sunday, fighters from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group that controls much of northwestern Iraq took over Sinjar, which had been under the control of Kurdish troops.
The town, near the Syrian border, is a hub for Iraq’s Yazidis, a very closed community that follows an ancient faith rooted in Zoroastrianism and referred to by jihadists as “devil worshippers”.
Sinjar was also a temporary home for thousands of displaced people from other minorities, such as Shiite Turkmen who had fled the nearby city of Tal Afar when IS launched its offensive on 9 June.
The attack on Sinjar sent thousands of people running from their homes in panic, some of them scurrying into the mountains with no supplies.
“Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25 000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including drinking water and sanitation services,” Unicef said.
Pictures posted on the internet by members of the Yazidi community show little clusters of people gathering on the cave-dotted flanks of a craggy canyon in the Sinjar mountains.
From Sky News:
All Eyes on Gaza Amid Desert Hell in Nineveh
An ancient landscape that was once the envy, perhaps the centre, of the civilised world.
Now a desert hell for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Nineveh faces a religious pogrom while the eyes of the outside world are fixed on Gaza.
In the past week the self-styled Islamic State, which captured Nineveh a few weeks ago from Iraq’s army, has attacked the heartland of the Yezidis.
This religious movement has roots that predate Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Its community is a living tie to the global past of monotheism with a theological tradition that incorporates Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and paganism.
Now some 300,000 — the core population — are reported to be under pressure from the IS to leave their villages near Mosul or face death.
They have joined tens of thousands of Christians from Nineveh’s capital and surroundings who were given the choice to convert to Islam or die.
Finally, more background from NFSE:
Iraq’s Jihadis Have Vowed to Wipe Out the Yazidis. Who Are They?
The arrival of the self-styled “Islamic State” (IS) in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar over the weekend sent the native religious minority fleeing. Yazidis, labeled by IS (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIS) “devil worshippers,” have a long history of persecution.
Forty Yazidi children were reported killed and reports of forced conversions and murders have now emerged. A Yazidi parliamentarian fleeing northern Iraq told the Washington Post, “In our history, we have suffered 72 massacres. We are worried Sinjar could be a 73rd.”
The Sinjar area, near the border with Syria, is strategically important for IS, just 50 miles from Mosul. The United Nations has said close to 200,000 have fled the area, calling it a “humanitarian tragedy.”
Who are the Yazidis?
Yazidis (sometimes spelled Yezidis), belong to an ethno-religious group which predates Islam and has roots in Zoroastrianism, an monotheistic religion that developed in ancient Persia around 1,500 BC. Yazidis have been described as a “Kurdish heterodox group,” meaning that they’re ethnic Kurds, but outside the mainstream of the community and culture.
Over time they have incorporated aspects of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism into their beliefs. Much of the faith remains shrouded in mystery, with outsiders not allowed to convert and believers not willing to share details of their rituals.