The International Business Times reported on Aug. 10, 2014 that the Yazidis, a minority religious sect in Iraq, is being systematically eliminated by the Islam State fighters. They are given a choice of converting to the Sunni sect of Islam or being executed.
The article by Fiona Keating is titled Who Are the Yazidis, the Persecuted Religious Minority in Iraq. If you are wondering why you should care about the Yizidis, the US military is once again involved in Iraq. The US has dropped humanitarian aid to the Yazidis that have fled to Mount Sinjar in the northern part of the Kurdish portion of Iraq. The US has conducted multiple bombing attacks on the Islamic State “insurgents” to help the Kurds keep the Islamic State at bay.
The Yazidis has been persecuted for centuries because of their religious beliefs. Many of their beliefs are similar to Zoroastrianism and Sufism. Yazidis beliefs appear to have been adopted by Judaism, Islam and Christianity. They have lived in the area now called Iraq for over 3,000 years.
Yazidis believe that their God appointed seven angels to administer to the followers. The archangel Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel, fell from the Yazidis God’s grace, but was rehabilitated to come back into the group of seven angels. Yazidis practice baptism (Christianity), circumcision (Judaism and Islam), and pray three times a day (Islam).
The persecution of Yazidis is often blamed upon the Yazidis worship of the Peacock Angel, which is held to be Satan by both Shi’ite and Sunnis. They were also persecuted by the Kurds during the Ottoman Empire.
There are more details in the International Business Times article about the Yazidis. For most of the world, the Yazidis were unknown until the successful campaign of the Islam State to capture large areas of Iraq and focus on converting or killing the devil-worshiping Yazidis.
The religious conflicts in Iraq today help confirm the rationale for the First Amendment of the Constitution of the US. Never has separation of church and state been more justified than has been seen in Iraq. The eventual outcome of the ongoing situation in Iraq will be to divide Iraq back into three religious geographic areas with the Kurds in the north, and some division of the rest of Iraq into Shi’ite and Sunni areas. The Yazidis will end up in the Kurd portion of today's Iraq. Because the Kurds have the bulk of the oil in Iraq, the US will continue to aid and assist the Kurds.
The New Republic shares the view that the US is back in Iraq because of the oil, and with a secondary purpose to provide humanitarian aid to save the Yazidis sitting on the top of Mount Sinjar. The article is by John B. Judis, and is titled The U.S. Airstrikes in Northern Iraq Are All about Oil.
There is no moral to this story beyond the statement that religions continue to be one of the major divisive forces in the world. As Christians attempt to convert Muslims and followers of indigenous religions in remote parts of the world, this is going to continue to cause horrific loss of life over which religion has the true support of God(s).
Before any of the religions and “local heroes” on earth, there were the sun, the moon and the stars. Nature is revered as being the true revelation of the workings of the Creator by spiritualists. Unlike Pagans and other religions, spiritualism avows that there is Infinite Intelligence at work, and there are no other God or Gods involved in the creation of all that is.
Whatever your own personal beliefs, respect for all other beliefs is the humane approach to religious acceptance. If the belief of others works to make them better human beings, that should be good enough. Believe what you will, but don’t try to convert others. Live and let live. Pray for the Yazidis.