US Yazidi Returning to Iraq Amid ISIS Persecution Calls for People of All Faiths to Act, Shares Heartbreaking Stories of Atrocities Back Home
On the "obligations" of global Christian community:
If the Christians of the U.S., Christians of Europe, the people of faith, if we don't respond to something that's happening to the basic roots of Christianity. The roots of Christianity are coming from Nineveh. The roots of Judaism is coming from Nineveh. This is where your roots are and the people who basically that you took your Scriptures from, you learn from about your faith, those are the very people who are now being killed on their identity. Those are the very people that have now been murdered, they have been displaced. The Yazidis the same thing.
So, as a Christian community, will we accept this? Will we accept the Yazidis, will we accept the Christians, the minorities in Iraq to be wiped out? To be wiped out only after 10 years of all involvement in that region even? I know everyone is sick of Iraq, everyone is sick to get involved in Iraq. We don't want to spend money there. We don't want to put our soldiers there. But it's a mess! And we are a part of it in one way or another, and it's a moral obligation that we prevent more atrocities.
If Christians and Yazidis leave Iraq, what will their children think about the U.S.? What will they think about the West? What will they think about the good people of faith? They will think that, in a time where the West is so strong, has so much money, has so much weapons, has so much liberty in the world, that is the time where Christians and Yazidis were uprooted from their homeland. That should not happen. That's a shame for us, really, as humanity in general, not just Christians. It's a shame for everyone. It's a shame for Muslims that two small minorities, Christians and Yazidis and [unintelligible] and Baha'is and Assyrians and Coptics in Egypt.
On the "obligation" of Muslims to protect minorities:
It's a shame for the Islamic world that in the time where they have so much power, they have so much money coming from oil, coming from everywhere, they have so much weapons and they let this happen to these minority communities. This will be written in the history ... the history of everyone, that the Islamic world not only failed to protect minorities within their area. Because even as Muslims they are obligated to protect Christians and Yazidis. They are obligated to protect those Assyrians in Iran. They are obligated to protect the Coptics in Egypt. They are obligated to protect minorities if they really feel this, if they really feel that. … But instead of protecting them, they become part of the ... they join ISIS to come against us.
It's like our neighbors turned against us in Mosul. They turned against the Christians in Mosul, or they don't care. It's like something that's happening, not to the Yazidis, it's like something happening on another planet. Not something happening in Mosul, where the Iraqi government has power, where the Kurdistan government has power, where the Sunni tribes, the Muslim tribes, all the Sunni tribes, Arabic tribes have so much power there they can use. It's happening in front of their eyes where thousands of Yazidi women are enslaved. Thousands have been raped on a daily basis.
They are putting 6,7 women inside a house and they are going and raping them on daily basis, on hourly basis. And when they call for faith, they call for justice, is this justice? Is this truly justice that thousands of Yazidis have to be suffering in this way? Is it really justice that thousands of women are raped on a daily basis using crazy interpretations of their book? …
The Islamic world needs to stand against this, give very clear statement. Or, if you remain silent on this, that means that you accept [the] interpretation of your scriptures, the use of your scriptures to be used to enslave women and [to rape them]. So your scriptures are now used to rape women in groups, not just once. The Islamic scriptures are now used to rape more than 2,000 Yazidi women on a daily basis. They are used to rape Christian women. If your religion, if your scriptures are against that, it's time for you to stand up and to tell those crazy ideologists. ... It's time for you to rise and to tell them, 'This is not my religion.'
If it's not your religion, stand up for it. The Muslim world is of 1.5 billion people in the world. They have billions of dollars. They have billions of weapons. They have airplanes. They have every capacity to respond to this crazy people in Iraq, crazy people in Afghanistan, crazy people in Boko Haram in North Africa. You either stand against these crazy people or you let them, they become the norm. Now it's the norm to kill. Now is the norm in the whole Islamic world, all the way from Africa to Arabic community, all the way to Afghanistan, it's the norm to kill, it's the norm to enslave, its the norm to rape. As Muslims, will you accept this to happen? Will you accept that rape and killing become part of your faith?
I will just tell you this. A Yazidi woman, a Yazidi child who was just freed from ISIS, whenever she hears the word Allahu Akbar ('God is great/greater/the greatest' in Arabic), whenever she heard that, which is the Islamic (call) that ISIS uses, she gets panic attacks. She gets panic attacks whenever somebody will mention Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar is the word that Muslims use in the call of their religion. Now, the question is for the Muslim — will you accept your religion to be associated with that? Will you allow Allahu Akbar to be associated with panic attacks? Would you like the Allahu Akbar to be associated in the brain of a woman when she feels how she was raped? Will you like this to happen?
I'm very sorry, but I think it's very important to express it in this way so hopefully we can stop these atrocities. ...
Thank you for putting a light on this. Please continue doing this, because what's happening should not be happening. It's not just a Yazidi thing. It's not a Christian thing. It's a human being thing that should not happen, and we should all do what we can to stop it.
This video is an excerpt of Ismael's remarks in November at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: