If freedom of religious belief is a fundamental human right, then surely no people is more deserving of universal sympathy and support than the persecuted Yazidis. With a long history behind them of victimization and oppression under Ottoman rule – more than 70 genocidal massacres are on record – in recent years their maltreatment has, if anything, intensified.
For their beliefs, they have been the target of hatred for centuries. Considered heretical devil worshippers by many Muslims—including the advancing militants overrunning Iraq—the Yazidis have faced the possibility of genocide many times over.
Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, a proud and independent nation lived and thrived in its own land in the heart of the Middle East. Down through the ages, although subject to many foreign invasions, this ethnically distinct people refused to be integrated with their various conquerors, but retained their individual culture. At the start of the First World War, their country was a small part of the Ottoman Empire. In shaping the future Middle East after the war the Allied powers, and in particular the United Kingdom, promised to act as guarantors of this people’s freedom….
ERBIL, Kurdistan region — “We Muslims have a lot of problems with our religion for a lot of reasons,” the words of Sanger Najim, a young man living in Erbil, echo the sentiments of a growing population in the Kurdistan region who struggle with questions about their faith.