Organisation of Women’s Freedom Iraq-OWFI (27/08/2014)
Statement of solidarity with the Yazidi community and condemnation of ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s minority groups by ISIS.
On Tuesday 10 June 2014, the second largest city of Iraq (Mosul) fell to the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). This has been a start of a new and bloody chapter in Iraq’s contemporary history. As soon as they took over the city, killing, terror, public executions, and massacres became predominant features of their dark rule. ISIS terrorists have targeted members of minority communities and non-Sunni religious groups.
Their first attempt was to force Christians either to flee or convert to Islam. This was followed by the organised targeting of Yazidi people which trapped up to 45,000 of them. They were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan, or face massacre by Islamic State terrorist fighters. Shocking images of brutally slaughtered innocent Yazidi civilians have appeared in the media. Images of men, children, youth, and the elderly, massacred in broad daylight, are widespread on the net.
It is clear in every war and especially a war waged by political Islamists, that women are a special target due to their gender. Although it is very hard to obtain accurate information about the ordeal of Yazidi civilians and particularly women, however there is news that hundreds of women and girls have been kidnapped and held by the Jihadist/terrorists. It is reported that ISIS terrorists have vowed that the captured Yazidi women and young girls will be forcibly married off to their members, used for sexual servitude, and sold in the slave market created by ISIS in the city of Mosul or elsewhere in the Syrian heart of the “Islamic State”.
In addition hundreds of Yazidi men who refused to convert to Islam have been shot dead. News and reports of widespread terror, violence, despotism and murder by ISIS and other Islamic terror groups have become extremely prevalent in Iraq. Other minority groups such as Christians have been a target for killing or the bombing of their churches. Thousands had to flee their homes and seek refuge in Kurdistan or all together leave the country. Shia residents of city of Nineveh and Telafar were also massacred in the dead of night, pushing tens of thousands of civilians to mass immigration on foot.
Lack of protection for Yazidis, Christians, Turkomen, and Shebek Shias led to their uprooting from communities in Mosul, Telafar, and Sinjar where they have lived for centuries. In addition the geo-social fabric of Iraq is being rapidly torn and divided along lines of ethnicity, religious sects, and tribalism.
This division does not represent ordinary civilians and all these criminal wars are the result of post-occupation divisive politics which were imposed by the Anglo-American neo-colonialists who chose Iraq’s leaders on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and sect. With one sectarian group empowered against the others, the growth of ISIS among members of the disempowered sect was only a natural result of governmental sectarian oppression of the “Sunni” part of Iraq.
The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq is in solidarity with Yazidis, Shebek, and Shia Turkomen, and calls on the international community to offer unconditional support, protection, and solidarity to them. OWFI also demands that the suffering of Yazidis, Christians, Shebek, and Turkomen to be recognized as genocide.
What happened to minorities in Iraq, particularly to Yazidis, is a crime against humanity and we all must stand against it, to condemn ISIS and all other political Islamic groups for their crimes.
Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-OWFI