Senior leaders in Iraq’s minority Yazidi community say their wives and daughters, forcibly held by Islamic militants, are being given a choice: Convert to Islam and marry jihadists — or else.
Mirza Dinnayi, a senior Yazidi leader and a former adviser on minority affairs to the Iraqi president, said he has spoken on the phone with several women who cry out to him: “I love my husband; my faith is Yazidi.”
Others have attested to harsh treatment bestowed on members of the religious minority by the Islamic State militant group since its gunmen captured parts of Iraq earlier this week.
As many as 200,000 Yazidis left their homes in the Sinjar region of northwestern Iraq. Untold thousands are believed dead and at least several hundred women and children are being held prisoners.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands are stranded on the Sinjar mountain range without access to food or water in an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Even in a long history marred by persecution, this week’s tragic events stood out.