The Iraqi government says ‘Islamic State’ militants have murdered at least 500 Yazidis, some women and children they buried alive. They are also accused of forcing 300 women into slavery.
Tens of thousands of other Yazidis are taking shelter on the hot, desolate summit of Mount Sinjar, with the Americans trying to drop aid from the air, and strike at the Islamists who are threatening the refugees.
The Yazidis’ religion is much older than Islam. They believe God created the world, but then left if to be ruled by seven angels and that after death, our souls are transferred to other human beings. They do not believe in hell or the devil.
Over the centuries, they have been persecuted by many groups including the Ottoman Turks, Muslim Kurdish princes, and Saddam Hussein’s government. Then after his fall, nearly 800 Yazidis were killed in 2007 in the deadliest terrorist act in history apart from 9/11. No one has admitted responsibility for the co-ordinated four-bomb attack, but it is generally blamed on al-Qaeda or other Sunni militants.