Obert, Cy


On August 14, 2007, a Yezidi community in Iraq, the Yezidis are an ethno-religious group located throughout the Middle East, mainly Northern Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, was attacked by four suicide bombers linked to Al Qaeda. This was the biggest attack on the community, a terror attack which killed 800 and wounded another 1,500, many of whom were women and children, according to Iraqi officials.   Al Qaeda had never been fond of the Yezidis because they inhabit parts of Islam dominated Iraq, and Yezidi people practice a religion different from Islam. The focus of their religion involves aspects from a variety of different religions, including Islam, yet at the same time, the religion is extremely specific. Also, only those born into the Yezidi community can belong to it.

Yezidis left in the region feared for their lives and abandoned their somewhat stable lives to venture into the mountains, despite receiving both American aid and a slither of Iraq government protection, in order to flee the continuing acts of terror performed by Muslim groups. This, obviously, was a large scale social change for the group as their social structures were dismantled and the focus of their society became surviving as they were essentially becoming hunted people. Their previous virtues of caring for their parents as they aged ceased, too, as many elderly people were noted to have been left behind when families fled. There are an estimated 700,000 Yezidi people, and another estimation states that somewhere between 50,000-150,000 have fled from Iraq seeking refuge. Another aspect of Yezidi culture, too, was broken, as members were accepted into the religion to be protectors. Before, only those born of Yezidi descent could be members of the Yezidi community. All in all, this atrocious act of terror completely altered the existing social structure of the Yezidi culture.

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/11/iraq-forced-marriage-conversion-yezidis (picture)