Photo: Displaced Yezidi families from Shingal.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - In an act of solidarity with Yezidis made homeless and persecuted en masse by the Islamic State (IS/formerly ISIS) in Iraq, dozens of Kurdish intellectuals and activists announced they have symbolically converted to the faith.
“We become Yezidis to show the radical Muslims that their genocidal campaign would only increase the number of Yezidis in Kurdistan,” said a group of 48 intellectuals and activists in a joint statement.
They said that the Yezidis are “subjected to savage attacks only because they have a different religion.”
“Because of their non-Muslim faith they are killed en masse, their girls and women are enslaved and many of them have been forcefully converted to Islam,” their statement read.
IS militants attacked the Yezidi town of Shingal early this month, killing several hundred civilians and displacing tens of thousands to Mount Shingal, where many died of hunger and thirst.
“I feel like a Yezidi,” pronounced Frmesk Mustafa, a Kurdish actress. “I am one of them,” she said.
Mustafa, who has returned to Kurdistan from Norway to work with Yezidi refugees, said: “The aim is to make them return the girls. And to show that Yezidis have to remain with their faith without fear.”
The activists stressed in their statement that the Kurdistan Region has no room for religious intolerance, and that Yezidis are welcome as members of Kurdish society.
“One of the prides of the people of Kurdistan is their belief in religious and ethnic diversity where every individual can live together,” they said.
The group called on the people of Kurdistan, Iraq and the world to become Yezidis, albeit symbolically, in solidarity with the small and persecuted community.
“We want to tell the Yezidis and the people of the world that we will not leave the Yezidis to face a genocide alone,” read the statement.