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Yazidi woman that greeted the Pope in Assisi: We are suffering a genocide but we will move forward

2016-09-23

Leyla Ferman is a Yazidi and comes from Sinjar, an area in Iraq where ISIS terrorists, as recognized by the UN, have been committing atrocities leading to the genocide of the religious minority since 2014.

LAYLA FERMAN
Central Council of Yazidi Associations
"Although for instance our community is facing very hard times, we still don't know how to overcome this genocide but although we are facing this hard times we still have hope. We are convinced that we will remain and will stay and this is the message also for me and my community and also for our friends.”

While in Assisi, Leyla had the opportunity to greet Pope Francis at the interfaith day of prayer for peace. Indeed peace is the greatest desire for this community that has been undermined by radical Islam.

At the moment, 30 mass graves with unidentified bodies have been found in the Sinjar Mountains. Despite these massacres, the Yazidis are a peaceful community that still believes in coexistence.

LAYLA FERMAN
Central Council of Yazidi Associations
"Yazidis believe in peace and brotherhood. So this is very basic in all of our lives and these issues give us hope. We are sure, it is not just hope, that there will be other times for brotherhood and peace because this is the only alternative that we have.”

From the beginning, Pope Francis has been following this new crisis in Iraq closely. He held a meeting at the Vatican with the head of this community and thanked him for his concern and prayers. Yazidism is a religion rooted with pre-Islamic elements that date back to 2,000 B.C.

In total, Yazidis make up about 1.5 million people. Some 3,000 Yazidi women and girls of this religious minority are still abducted by these terrorists. They are used as sex slaves, sold, raped and battered for months without a possibility of escape. The United States, European Union and the UN have already called these massacres a genocide.


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