Why We Should Continue to Rescue Yazidis from ISIS
You Asked, The Nazarene Fund Answers
In 2014, The Nazarene Fund was conceived based on a mission to rescue and resettle Christians persecuted by the Islamic State when the group began its campaign of genocide in Syria and Iraq. For three years now, we’ve been doing just that: rescuing captives, moving people out of conflict zones and into safe havens, resettling former slaves and their families in new home countries, providing aid, and building and restoring cultural institutions.
In that time, we learned, as did the rest of the world, that other ethnic and religious minorities, including the Yazidis, were also being put to the sword and their cultures eradicated. We simply could not sit idly by as men, women, and children were led to slaughter.
We are occasionally asked, “Why should we care about groups like the Yazidis? Why should Christians get involved with the rescue of non-Christians?”
To those questions, we point to Proverbs 24:11-12:
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?”
Simply put, saving innocent people who are “stumbling to slaughter” — regardless of their religious affiliation — is The Nazarene Fund’s work. It’s our calling.
But, if you need something more tangible, here are ten reasons you should care:
- Yazidis are arguably the most marginalized and persecuted people in The Middle East. Even prior to the war with ISIS, many were living on the margins of society and denied education, job opportunities, and access to legal institutions and protections available to the Muslim majority. The war with ISIS then saw an attempt by Islamic extremists to exterminate all Yazidi people.
- The Yazidi people’s current situation is very dangerous. Those still in camps or in the disputed zones of Syria and Iraq, in particular, are in harm’s way. The Turks in the Syrian city of Afrin are expelling Yazidis, forcing them into camps in Syria and Iraq, and the Iranian militias in Nineveh (Iraq) are actively evicting them or preventing them from returning to their homes. Even when the ISIS war is over, the Yazidis left alive will be vulnerable to more persecution, displacement, and discrimination.
- Young Yazidi men are often captured and radicalized by the Islamic State and other extremist groups for use in future terrorist missions. By rescuing them, we are removing potential foot soldiers/suicide bombers and savings lives (possibly the lives of American and allied soldiers).
- Yazidi and Christian refugees are targets of organ traffickers. Some go willingly to the clinics, thinking they can sell a kidney for cash, and others are captives that are sold to the harvesters. We need to protect the innocent, so they don’t end up in body bags while their organs are sold on the black market in Europe, the Gulf States and beyond.
- Yazidi women are still used as sex slaves by ISIS. Girls as young as nine years old are often raped and used as indentured slaves. There are still 3,000 missing Yazidis following the Shinghal Massacre. We’ve promised to continue searching until all 3,000 are accounted for.
- The overall Yazidi population is around 700,000. By rescuing them, we are saving an ethno-religious group from extinction.
- The Yazidis are eye witnesses of the ISIS-led atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria. There will come a day when the perpetrators of this genocide will face trial. At that time, the Yazidis’ personal accounts of persecution and terror will bring members of ISIS to justice.
- Yazidis provide U.S. and allied intelligence teams with pertinent data about ISIS and Al Qaeda activities in Iraq and Syria. This is important in the long-term fight against terrorism.
- Yazidis and Christians are natural allies in the region. They have both suffered centuries of persecution and discrimination and should support each other.
- Yazidis help protect regional Christians and Judeo-Christian holy sites across the area. This is important for historical evidence of the Bible. Islamist extremists would like nothing more than to see the destruction of these holy sites, so they can change the narrative and falsely claim that Judaism, Christianity, Yazidism, and other religions never existed in Iraq and Syria.
Join us. Help save those who are in danger by supporting The Nazarene Fund.