Islamic State, or IS — the terrorist organization formerly known as ISIS (“Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”) — has killed 500 Yazidis, with some being buried alive, and with hundreds of women being taken as slaves, The Huffington Post is reporting.
The Yazidis are a religious community that practices an ancient religion with ties to Zorastrianism; IS regards them as “devil worshippers” and have threatened to kill any who don’t convert to Islam.
In a telephone interview, Iraq human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani accused the militants of celebrating an “atrocious victory” over unarmed women and children, cheering and waving weapons in the air.
“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar. Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar.”
ISIS militants have surrounded Sinjar — a mountainous, desert region — leaving tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians on top of the mountain without access to food, water, or medical care. Last week, U.S. airstrikes targeted IS artillery, followed later by the first drops of humanitarian aid (see this Inquisitr article).
In his weekly address from The Vatican on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his concern about the situation. Via Newsweek:
“Thousands of people, among them many Christians, banished brutally from their houses, children dying of hunger and thirst as they flee, women kidnapped, people massacred, violence of all kinds. All of this deeply offends God and deeply offends humanity.”
He also urged Christians throughout the world to pray for the Christians and Yazidis targeted by IS.
An appeal to all families: when you say your prayers, remember all those forced from their homes in Iraq. #PrayForPeace
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) August 10, 2014
IS has stated that their goal is to establish a Caliphate — that is, a sort-of meta-nation of all of the world’s Muslims under the direct rule of one “Caliph,” or supreme ruler. The word harkens back to ancient Muslim Caliphates that existed in various forms for several centuries in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe, according to Vox. In the image below, produced by IS, you can see a vision of their goal.
Weeks ago, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared that the Caliphate has been re-established and named himself Caliph, and changed the name of his organization from ISIS (“Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”) to simply IS (“Islamic State”).
Does IS killing Yazidis and Christians warrant a U.S. military response? Let us know what you think in the Comments
[Image courtesy of: Press TV]