A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, August 4, 2014

IS Takes Sinjar, Moving to Expel the Yazidis

Another Iraqi minority is now in jeopardy; over the weekend the Islamic State defeated a Kurdish peshmerga force and took over the town if Sinjar and its hinterland, the Jabal Sinjar, in western Iraq along the Syrian border, the traditional mountain  redoubt of Iraq's Yazidis. The other main concentration of Yazidis, at Shekhan near Mosul, was already threatened. As it previously expelled Christians an other minorities from Mosul, Yazidis are now reportedly being expelled from Sinjar.

Because the Yazidis are not "People of the Book" in Muslim eyes, they have had less protection than Jews, Christians, and Mandaeans. Their ancient syncretistic religion venerates an angel known as Malak Ta'us, they are often accused of idolatry or even devil worship. They have been under increasing pressure since 2003, but the present wave of Yazidi refugees seems unprecedented. The United Nations is warning of a major humanitarian disaster.

For more details, see (note that Yezidi and Ezidi are also used in these citations):

Matthew Barber at Syria Comment: IS Routs Peshmerga, Takes Control of Sinjar Mountains, Jeopardizes Yazidi Homeland. 

At the Kurdish news site Rudaw: "Yezidis: Living in the Shadow of the Islamic State."

At the Yazidi news site Ezidi Press: "IS terrorists Take Over Yezidi villages: A short chronicle."

The Rudaw an Ezidi Press sites also provide ongoing coverage.

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