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Undated: The Yazidis or the Yazidi people are a mostly Kurmanji Kurdish–speaking minority ethno-religious group, indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey) who are strictly endogamous. Some of them identify themselves as ethnic Kurds but most of them[verification needed] identify themselves as a distinct ethno-religious group,[better source needed] and they are recognized as such in Iraq and Armenia.
Many Yazidis consider Yazidism both an ethnic and a religious identity. Their religion, Yazidism, is also called Sharfadin by Yazidis. It is a monotheistic religion and has elements of ancient mesopotamian religions and some similarities with Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Yazidism is not linked to Zoroastrianism. Yazidis who marry non-Yazidis are automatically considered to be converted to the religion of their spouse and therefore are not permitted to call themselves Yazidis. The Yazidis in Iraq live primarily in the Nineveh Province, part of the disputed territories of northern Iraq.
Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Syria and as a result of significant migration to Europe, many Yazidis reside in Germany.
Since 3 August 2014, the Yazidis became victims of an ongoing genocide by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in its campaign to rid Iraq and its neighbouring countries of non-Islamic influences.
-- 2014 --
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August 7: Who are the Yazidis and why is Isis hunting them?
The Iraqi ethnic and religious minority descends from some of the region’s most ancient roots and face executions for a reputation as ‘devil worshippers’
Reports that Islamic militants have trapped up to 40,000 members of Iraq’s minority communities have spurred the US into considering a military-led humanitarian action.
Most of the trapped people are members of the Yazidi religion, one of Iraq’s oldest minorities. They were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar in the Iraqi north-west region, or face slaughter by an encircling group of Islamic State (Isis) jihadists. The UN has said that roughly 40,000 people – many women and children – have taken refuge in nine locations on the mountain, “a craggy, mile-high ridge identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark”.
Gruesome images of brutally slain people have emerged in the past week, as local officials say that at least 500 Yazidis, including 40 children, have been killed, and many more have been threatened with death. Roughly 130,000 residents of the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar have fled to Dohuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan to the north, or to Irbil.
-- 2017 --
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January 28: A Yazidi Refugee, Stranded at the Airport by Trump
The day before was their second anniversary, but they couldn’t celebrate together: Khalas lives in Washington, D.C., and Nada in Sinjar, in the north of Iraq. Khalas, a former interpreter for the U.S. Army, was granted a Special Immigrant Visa for his service to America. He came last July, thinking that Nada would arrive shortly thereafter.
They are also Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic religion whose adherents have been severely persecuted in recent years, particularly by the Islamic State.
Khalas had been to the U.S. four years earlier as part of a troupe of students from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (A.U.I.S.), performing Shakespeare throughout the country. Khalas played Brutus in “Julius Caesar.” He would have been within his rights to claim asylum on that first trip, but he was still full of hope for the future in Iraq.
-- 2018 --
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August 23: The Trump Administration’s support for religious freedom: Too good to be true?
When news of the Trump administration’s new Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program was announced in late July by Vice President Pence, it sounded good on its face. Pence spoke of the program during the State Department’s inaugural “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom,” an event intended to “focus on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change.” He said the new genocide program would focus primarily on post-genocide recovery efforts for the persecuted Christian and Yazidi populations, which were tied together, despite the fact that the Yazidi faith is a blend of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam.
The plight of the Yazidis should not be conflated with that of other minority religious groups in Iraq, who unarguably suffered persecution and gross violations, but empirically not to the level of de jure genocide. IS fighters exterminated Yazidis, branding them “devil worshipers,” in mass killings when fighters based in Iraq and Syria attacked the Iraqi region of Sinjar in August 2014. The UN determined that IS “sought to erase the Yazidis through killings, sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, and inhuman and degrading treatment.” IS fighters violently raped their captives and also actively prevented births by separating women from men, and by sexually traumatizing females. The Islamic State also attacked and persecuted many other religious minorities in Iraq, but it had the requisite intent to annihilate the Yazidi population, just because they were Yazidis.
What is troubling is the Trump administration’s focus on religious minority groups above all others, prioritizing humanitarian aid on faith affiliation above degree of need. There’s also a concern that the administration may be exploiting the term “genocide,” which should really be reserved for the Yazidi population, as a means of justifying such concerted effort on behalf of Iraqi Christians. [report by Jewish World Watch]
November 23: ISIS May Be Gone, But Iraq’s Yazidis Are Still Suffering
The defeat of the Islamic State has created a power vacuum in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, leaving the Yazidi minority at the mercy of competing militias.
-- 2019 --
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January 5: Yazidi rights group urges US to keep troops in Syria
Rights group says US troop withdrawal from Syria may allow ISIL to return, posing an 'existential threat' to minorities.
April 2: Number of refugees down sharply, again, under restrictions set by Trump administration
The United States is on pace to accept one of the lowest numbers of refugees on record under sweeping restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.
State Department figures show that 12,151 refugees arrived in the United States as of March 31, six months into the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. If the number of admissions continues at the same pace in the second half of the year, the total will fall 19 percent below the historically low ceiling of 30,000 set by President Trump.
The United States is now in the third year of an overall slowdown in refugee numbers, despite a continuing crisis. Worldwide, 68 million people have been forcibly displaced, and more than 25 million are refugees. Groups that work with refugees say it is not that fewer people are seeking to come to the United States but that far fewer are able to gain admission.
The United States traditionally has been willing to accept the world’s most vulnerable refugees. Many of them are religious minorities in their home countries and are fleeing persecution.
-- 2020 --
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