In a media blitz recently, the 30,000 Yazidi’s in N. Iraq are getting a lot of press for being trapped on a mountain, with the Islamic State in Levant (ISIL) threatening to exterminate them in an ethnic cleansing.
However, before going on to determine from a Christian perspective (and, the Yazidi’s themselves) who they are, let’s remind ourselves that there is NO operation going on to help the tens of thousand’s of Christian refugees who have been persecuted in Iraq ever since the first Gulf War:
(The following is from 2010 – when reading it remember the Yazidi’s are also in Northern Iraq):
IRAQ: CHRISTIANS UNDER SIEGE
Iraq’s last official census (1987) counted 1.4 million indigenous Assyrian and Chaldean Christians. As Islamic zeal and Arab nationalism rose in the wake of Gulf War 1 (1991), Christians with means emigrated. By the time of the March 2003 US invasion, the Christian population of Iraq was estimated at between 1.2 million and 800,000. Today, after seven years of war, sectarian conflict and ethnic-religious cleansing, a remnant of some 400,000 Christians remains. The Shi’ite south has been virtually ‘cleansed’ of Christians and few remain in the Sunni-dominated centre. Christians now live mostly in the north: in the historic Assyrian homeland of the Nineveh Plains, a fault-line region between the Arabs (who invaded up from Arabia in the 7th Century) and the Kurds (who invaded down from Turkey in the 14th Century). Terrorism targeting Mosul’s churches and Christians has escalated ever since the US ‘surge’ forced al-Qaeda elements out of the central provinces of Anbar, Baghdad and Diyala to relocate north. Christian families continue to flee Mosul in large numbers. Those still there report being intimidated and harassed with threatening phone calls and letters. Many Christian women have taken to wearing the hijab to hide their Christian identity.
Christians are so endangered in Northern Iraq that Christian students must travel to university in convoys with Iraqi military escorts. On Sunday morning 2 May two bombs ripped through a convoy of buses transporting Christian college students from the mainly Christian town of Hamdaniya, 40km east of Mosul in the Nineveh Plains region of Northern Iraq, to the University of Mosul. According to reports, once the first buses had passed through the Kokjali checkpoint (manned by US, Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers) a car bomb parked on the shoulder of the highway exploded in their path, followed moments later by a roadside bomb. A local shopkeeper was killed and more than 100 people were wounded (17 critically) including some 70 of the targeted Christian college students.
Jamil Salahuddin Jamil (25), a geography major on the first bus, told reporters one of his classmates lost her leg in the attack and two others were blinded. ‘We were going for our education and they presented us with bombs,’ he said. ‘I still do not know what they want from Christians.’ Of course Jamil knows exactly what the Islamic terrorists and the Muslim fundamentalists who support them want from Christians: he just can’t bear to contemplate it let alone verbalise it. What they want is Christians to be driven out of Iraq and those remaining to be ‘utterly subdued’ (Qur’an, Sura 9:29).
Despite the desperate pleas of church leaders, Iraqi Christian refugees are reluctant to return. Speaking in Damascus, Syria, Christian refugee Toma Georgees told CNS (23 April 2010): ‘It’s . . . impossible to turn back to Iraq. Our problem is not with the Iraqi government. Our problem is with Iraqi people . . . who want to kill us, who want to kill all the Christians.’ In the early 1950s Iraq’s more than 120,000-strong ancient Jewish community — which dated back to the Babylonian captivity and had come to comprise the elite of Baghdad — was eradicated. Now it appears it is the turn of the indigenous Assyrian and Chaldean Christians.
The next line of this report from 2010 proved very prophetic:
When it erupts — as it eventually will — the battle for fault-line Nineveh and oil-rich Kirkuk will engulf northern Iraq and draw in regional players. Meanwhile the dark smoke of sectarianism is rising again out of the volcano that is Baghdad. When ethnic and sectarian conflict resumes — as it eventually will — the Christians will lose the state protection they presently have. The future of Iraq is bleak indeed.
The following article was released 13 Aug 2014 from ANS news service:
IRAQ: Christians flee the killing fields
Prayer and aid desperately needed
By Elizabeth Kendal
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 273
Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) — In June ISIS flooded into Nineveh, northern Iraq, and captured Mosul in a blitzkrieg, forcing thousands of Christians to flee for their lives. After a failed attempt to advance on Baghdad, ISIS consolidated in Mosul, declared a Caliphate covering north-east Syria and north-west Iraq, and renamed itself the Islamic State (IS). It then expelled Mosul’s remnant Christians, who limped into exile with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Now it appears IS has fixed its sights on the oil-rich frontier of Iraqi Kurdistan. Whilst officially Kirkuk is disputed territory, the Kurds exploited insecurity in July to seize control of the oil-rich territory they have long claimed is rightfully theirs. Just 107km north of Kirkuk is the city of Arbil (also spelt Erbil or Irbil), the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
(my note: This city is where the bombings by U.S. have been taking place, because of the OIL, not because of any humanitarian mission – read “Inconvenient Truth #79: ISIS in Iraq, yeah it’s about the Money“)
On Wednesday 6 August, as IS advanced towards Iraqi Kurdistan it overran Bakhdida, just 32km south-east of Mosul. It is the largest and oldest Assyrian city in Iraq and is also known as Qaraqosh or al-Hamadiniya [see RLPB 52 (5 May 2010)]. As in Mosul, the attack on Qaraqosh commenced with mortar fire and ended with expelling the entire Christian population. Richard Spencer reports from Ankawa, an Assyrian district on the northern outskirts of Arbil: ‘The last day of Qaraqosh’s time as a Christian town, a time almost as old as Christianity itself, began with a mortar shell at nine in the morning. It came through the roof of Melad and Marven Abdullah’s house on Wednesday [6 Aug], killing them instantly. Melad was nine; his cousin, Marven, four. … The family’s next-door neighbour, Enam Eshoo, had popped in to deliver some fresh drinking water; she too died where she fell. The day ended with an order to evacuate. Within a couple of hours, the city’s tens of thousands of inhabitants were crowding the road to Kurdistan … .’
Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK said that IS’s capture of Qaraqosh had marked a turning point for Christians in the country. ‘Now we consider it genocide — ethnic cleansing,’ he said. ‘They are killing our people in the name of Allah and telling people that anyone who kills a Christian will go straight to heaven: that is their message.’ He said IS had burnt churches along with invaluable ancient books and manuscripts, and that some churches had been converted into mosques.
Patriarch Louis Sako, the Iraq-based leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, issued a statement on 10 August through the Catholic charity ‘Aid to the Church in Need’. He warned that Iraqi Christians ‘are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide’. According to the Archbishop, some 70,000 displaced Christians had arrived in Ankawa, Arbil. Some are with relatives, others have crowded into churches and monasteries and still more are sleeping in the streets and open fields in the scorching summer heat; their situation is dire. A further 60,000 Christians have arrived in Dohuk, 80km north of Mosul, ‘and their situation,’ he said, ‘is even worse than those in Arbil.’ Other Christians have travelled to Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah and Baghdad. ‘The churches are offering everything within their capacity.’
Archbishop Sako reports that all the churches from Mosul to the border of Kurdistan are deserted and desecrated. ‘The level of disaster is extreme,’ he said, lamenting that the US is only interested in protecting Arbil and not Christians facing genocide throughout Nineveh [and in fact across the whole ‘Caliphate’]. On the night of Thursday 7 August, US air strikes forced IS into a strategic withdrawal. US assistance will indeed be ‘limited’ — limited to protecting US personnel and interests. The US, Turkey and Iran will all want to help the Kurds keep IS at bay, without enabling a future Kurdish declaration of independence. Archbishop Sako laments: ‘The confirmation that this terrible situation will continue until the Iraqi Security Forces will fight along with Peshmerga [Kurdistan forces] against the ISIS militants is very depressing. There is no strategy to dry up the sources of manpower and the resources of these Islamic terrorists.’
Indeed, the Iraqi Security Forces will not be fighting terrorists in the north any time soon. When Iraq’s newly elected parliament failed to elect a Prime Minister, and with most agreeing that the incumbent PM al-Maliki — a polarising figure — should not lead the next government, the president stepped in to resolve the crisis. Under the Iraqi constitution, the president may appoint the chosen nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a government. On 11 August Iraqi President Fouad Massoum announced he had approved the nomination of Haider Abadi for PM. Al-Maliki immediately rejected this, insisting that it was his constitutional right to be nominated for a third term on the grounds that he heads the largest party in the largest bloc. Refusing to step aside, al-Makili has mobilised his troops, having spent his last eight years as PM consolidating his power by promoting military officials on grounds of loyalty rather than merit. So Baghdad fiddles while Iraq burns
You don’t hear ANYTHING AT ALL in the mainstream press about the reported minimum 130,000 Christian refugee’s undergoing “…ethnic cleansing and genocide” right up in the same area as the Yazidi’s, yet there is absolutely no operation going on by the United States to protect them. Both are humanitarian crisis’s, but why, as a supposed Christian nation (we are most definitely NOT) are we unconcerned with the 130,000 Christians undergoing genocide in Northern Iraq?
So, in part 2 I will go over what the Yazidi’s believe, and worship, NOT from any mainstream press reports, but from their own literature. You should know, however, that they are portrayed in the West as being maligned as “Devil worshippers”…we shall see , indeed, if this is true…stay tuned, and pray for the Christian refugee’s in Northern Iraq…as a preview, read this article from the New York Times (1993)…