The Yazidis are an ethno-linguistic minority, who reside in the Middle East including the terror-prone areas of Northern Iraq. They are practitioners of the monotheistic Yazidi religion, one of the world’s oldest religions, and indigenous to Upper Mesopotamia. Ever since the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Yazidis have been at the receiving end of religious genocide.
When the Islamist terror outfit made inroads into the Sinjar province of Northern Iraq in August 2014, about 50000 Yazidis were forced to flee their homes. Their plight was worsened following the withdrawal of Kurdish Peshmerga forces from the region. Since Yazidis were non-Muslims, the Islamic State viewed them as ‘devil worshippers’ who ought to be converted and enslaved. As such, the old and elderly Yazidis who failed to flee were executed while women were forced into sex slavery.
The ISIS demanded that the minorities pay jizya (a religious tax) or convert to Islam or be executed. Eyewitness accounts narrated that several Yazidi women who were raped by the terrorists were forced to commit suicide. Many young girls were sold as brides, and repeatedly raped and subjected to brutal torture. The Islamists would often build makeshift slave markets in Mosul in Raqqa, to sell women to the other terrorists.
Mass Displacement of Yazidis
Twitter user Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) posted a Twitter thread, chronicling the ordeal faced by the Yazidis at the hands of the Islamic State. In a video posted by the account, it could be seen how the Yazidis fled to nearby mountainous regions from the Sinjar province to avoid forced conversion to Islam. Men and women were spotted walking miles, with their belongings, away from their homes.
In a heartwarming video, a group of Yazidis were seen shedding tears of joy and hugging their children, who were kidnapped by the ISIS 7 years ago. Azzad Alsalem lamented, “Still hundreds of children in areas where IS was in control like Mosul, Anbar, Hawaija and in Syria, Turkey and even in the Kurdish region.”
Yezidis welcoming their kidnapped children after 7 years in IS captivity.— Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) February 6, 2021
Still hundreds of children in areas where IS was in control like Mosul, Anbar,Hawaija and in Syria, Turkey and even in Kurdish region.#ضحايا_كوجو #YazidiGenocide pic.twitter.com/Fp13Hek9Qt
Religious genocide by the ISIS
The Twitter account wrote, “Sunni neighbors started killing Yazidis after refusing convert to Islam. 10,000 Yezidis were killed and 7000 were enslaved after refusing convert to Islam. 3000 are still missing. 104 victims are buried today.” The video, accompanying the post, shows ISIS terrorists lining up helpless Yazidi men and shooting them down.
Sunni neighbors started killing Yezidis after refusing convert to Islam.— Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) February 6, 2021
10,000 Yezidis were killed and 7000 were enslaved after refusing convert to Islam.
3000 are still missing.
104 victims are buried today #ضحايا_كوجو #YazidiGenocide pic.twitter.com/yhghARxByW
Another video captures Yazidi women mourning the death of their loved ones. While 3000 Yazidis remain missing, only the fortunate ones were able to give a honourable farewell to their family members.
These Yezidis survived Genocide and today they buried their loved ones who were killed.— Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) February 6, 2021
They decided to die and to keep their religion instead of conversion.
Still 3000 Yezidis missing.#ضحايا_كوجو #YazidiGenocide pic.twitter.com/C4713AQ7Vw
Mass rapes and sexual slavery
In a video, an ISIS bride recounts how Yazidi women and even children were subjected to rape and sexual exploitation by the Islamic terrorists.
One woman, who was just 15 years old, was sold 7 times after she was held captive by the ISIS. The believers of ‘sex jihad’ did not feel any remorse before subjecting a child to a lifetime of trauma.
A Yazidi woman, who survived sexual slavery, confronted her perpetrator. She looked the terrorist in the eye and asked, “Why did you do this me? Why? Because I am a Yazidi. I was 14 years old when you raped me. Look up. Do you have any feelings? Do you have any honour? I was 14 years old, as old as your daughter, your son and your sister.”
“You destroyed my life. You robbed me of all my dreams. I was once held by the ISIS, by you but now you will feel the meaning of torment, torture and loneliness. If you had any feelings, you would not have raped me when I was 14,” she burst out in tears.
Yezidi survivor faced IS Sunni member who enslaved her.— Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) February 6, 2021
I was in age of your daughter when you raped me.
I was a child and you did all of this because I’m Yezidi not Muslim.#ضحايا_كوجو #YazidiGenocide pic.twitter.com/zI7mcysGLh
Another ISIS survivor, who was sold during Eid, recounted, “I was a child when I was kidnapped. I was sold 8 times, 3 of my owners raped me. I was given a gift during Islamic Eid. I was separated from my mother and tortured. My sister is as sold too.”
I was a child when I was kidnapped.— Azzad Alsalem (@AzzatAlsaleem) February 6, 2021
I was sold 8 times, 3 of my owners raped me.
I was given as gift during islamic Eid.
I was separated from my mother and tortured.
My sister is as sold too.#ضحايا_كوجو #YazidiGenocide pic.twitter.com/KcCm5kknaZ
“Some girls were taken 3 times and they would be sold from one to another. Some of the girls were just 10 years old. You could hear them scream and cry when they were taken away,” one woman narrated. Another Yazidi informed that they were starved to death and how they would wish that the US airstrike killed them (to escape the starvation).
In 2014, the United Nations reported that about 5000 Yazidis were murdered while 5000-7000 women and children were captured. In its digital magazine Dabiq, ISIS justified, “One should remember that enslaving the families of the (non-believers) and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah, that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Quran and the narrations of the Prophet.”