By M. A. Saki

More than 70% of the Yazidis are still displaced: Iraqi writer

August 11, 2021 - 21:5

TEHRAN – A member of the Union of Iraqi Writers says that most of Yazidis are still displaced and are living in camps despite the declaration of victory over ISIS.

“More than 70% of the Yazidis are still displaced and living in camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and they have not been able to return to their areas due to the bureaucratic, security and service problems that the Sinjar district suffers from,” Hamad Shehab Ahmad tells the Tehran Times.

“Seven years have passed and the genocide against the Yazidis is still going on, as the chances of finding the kidnapped are diminishing day after day after declaring victory over ISIS and its defeat in Iraq and Syria and the retreat of its elements in desert areas and the escape of others to neighboring countries after the Yazidi captives were taken with them, and families, including Yazidi children, were adopted,” Shehab Ahmad adds.

Yazidis, an ethnoreligious minority group of about 550,000 people, mostly reside in northern Iraq, an area also populated by Kurds and Arabs.

ISIS regards the Yazidis as “devil worshippers” who must either renounce their religious views or die.

According to international organizations, ISIS was responsible for the killing and abduction of roughly 9,900 Yazidis and destroying 68 Yazidi shrines in 2014.

When the terrorist group entered the Yazidi ancestral city of Sinjar on Aug. 3, 2014, they murdered roughly 5,000 men and boys and enslaved thousands of women and children.

 “The kidnapped children were given Islamic names in a move that will keep them for life and not hand them over to their relatives if they exist,” the Yazidi writer explains.
Following is the text of the interview:


Q: What is the meaning of the word Yazidi? Is it true that the beliefs of this sect are descended from ancient Persian religions such as Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism? Is there a common ritual between Yazidism and Zoroastrianism?

A: It comes from the Sumerian word "Azi Da", which means the right path or the correct direction.

Likewise, the Yezidis mean “worshippers of God,” which is derived from the Persian word “Izad,” which means angel or deity, and the same word in Zoroastrianism means “the holy god,” according to the writer Radwa al-Aswad in her book “Unknown Religions and Sects.”

The Yazidis are one of the oldest religions in Mesopotamia, which is associated with nature in most of its rituals; it dates back thousands of years. The writer Shukr Khedher Murad Al-Bazu says in his book (The Ancient History of Shingal) for the year 2017, page 28: “The Yazidis are the remnants of the Babylonian state and there is evidence indicate that, such as their fests, rituals and traditions inherited from their Babylonian ancestors so far, especially the New Year's Day festival on the first Wednesday of April of each year, i.e., in the middle of spring.

And the writer Badal Fakir Hajji goes further and says in his book (Lalesh Nameh: First Edition Tehran 2019 p. 190): “The Yezidis are an extension and continuity of some Indo-Iranian religions mixed with Mesopotamian beliefs, meaning that the rituals and texts of this religion are based and focused on a philosophy that its roots go back more than six thousand years.

Q: Can you update us about the crimes ISIS committed against the Yazidis in Iraq and Syria?

A: The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as (ISIS), under the leadership of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, launched an attack on the district of Sinjar, which has a Yezidi majority in Nineveh Province, in the far northwest of Iraq, along the Iraqi-Syrian border, about 120 kilometers away from the city of Mosul, the center of Nineveh Province. That was on the night of Saturday on February 2nd, 2014.

Despite the light weapons that the people had and their resistance to the enemy especially in the southern area of ??Sinjar (Al-Jazirah and Al-Adnaniah complexes) until sunrise, ISIS elements succeeded to extend their full control over the area at around ten o'clock in the morning after the withdrawal of all security and military forces charged with protecting the area without any fight or resistance!

After the Yazidis were left easy prey in their (ISIS) hands while some Sunni Muslim neighbors (Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen) cooperated with ISIS elements, the Yazidis had to flee towards Mount Sinjar (Shingal), which is 80 kilometers long, 21 kilometers wide, and the highest point is 1462 meters above sea level with an area of ??432 square kilometers.

The Kidnapped Yazidis Rescue Office based in the Kurdistan Regional Government issued a report on February 9, 2020, revealing more than 310,000 Yazidis were displaced on March 8, 2014, before ISIS takes control of the region. 1,293 people were killed in the first days and thousands of various ages were kidnapped after the region fell into the hands of the terrorists.

Those who were arrested were forcibly converted to Islam at gunpoint after being subjected to the threat of death with death; that is all because they were infidels in the eyes of ISIS and it is necessary to convert them to Islam and to kill their men if they refuse to adopt Islamic faiths and to take their women captive. This happened according to what was circulated in videos ISIS posted on its websites and testimonies of Yazidi female and male survivors from the grip of ISIS.


Q: Can you tell us about the current conditions of the Yazidis after the defeat of ISIS in Iraq?

A: Seven years have passed and the genocide against the Yazidis is still going on, as the chances of finding the kidnapped are diminishing day after day after declaring victory over ISIS and its defeat in Iraq and Syria and the retreat of its elements in the desert areas and the escape of others to neighboring countries after the Yazidi captives were taken with them and families including Yazidi children were adopted. The kidnapped children were given Islamic names in a move that will keep them for life and not hand them over to their relatives if they exist!

Also, more than 70% of the Yazidis are still displaced and are living in camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and they have not been able to return to their areas due to the bureaucratic, security and service problems that the Sinjar district suffers from.


Q: How would you describe the performance of the international community in shedding light on what happened to the Yazidis?

A: The international community showed sympathy towards the Yazidis the Security Council and its member states condemned ISIS. Also, international and human rights organizations denounced what ISIS committed against Yazidis especially officially recognizing the crimes that were committed as genocide.

 Some countries provided aid to displaced Yazidis by receiving ISIS victims and granting them asylum opportunities among those countries is Germany, Australia, Canada and France.

Despite declaring the final victory over ISIS, there are still thousands of Yazidis kidnapped with an unknown fate and no trace of them, and day after day their families lose hope of their return because there is no serious effort by the responsible authorities to liberate them despite repeated demands by their families.

Add to this a clear failure to hold the perpetrators of crimes accountable especially those who participated with ISIS: Nobody is prosecuted few people that are counted on the fingers of one hand!

Leave a Comment

5 + 2 =