YazidisThe Emanuel Social Action Committee is currently working to educate our community about the genocide taking place against the Yazidis and implementing a plan to bring aid to those impacted. The Yazidis are a small, peaceful, monotheistic religious group that lives primarily in Northern Iraq. Like the Jews, they share a history of repeated persecution due to their beliefs. In August 2014, their communities in Northern Iraq were overrun in a premeditated assault by ISIS. While tens of thousands fled, thousands were captured and murdered. Men were separated from the women and children and then murdered in mass graves. Boys as young as four years old were sent to ISIS training camps to indoctrinate them to become suicide bombers and between 5,200-7,000 women and children were kidnapped, brutalized, raped, and sold as sex slaves in a calculated and well organized slave system. Approximately 2,500 of the captives have escaped or have been rescued, but they lack adequate assistance in the DP (displaced persons) camps. The Islamic State continues to subject approximately 3,500 Yazidi women and girls as young as eight years old to organized rape, sexual assault, forced miscarriages and abortions, forced marriages, forced conversions, sexual slavery, trafficking, torture and brutal abuse. Overall, approximately 500,000 Yazidis have been displaced. Refugees in the camps are in dire need of supplies, medical assistance, trauma counseling, and protection. The United States Holocaust Museum issued a report in November 2015 concluding that genocide has and is taking place. Declarations of genocide by the European Union, United States and the United Nations followed in the first half of 2016.

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United Nations Human Rights Panel Concludes ISIL Committing Genocide Against Yazidis – The article contains a link to the report. 6/16/16
To Maintain Supply of Sex Slaves, ISIS Pushes Birth Controlâ– New York Times 3/12/16
U.S. Holocaust Museum Report – The article contains a link to the report. 11/12/15
ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape – New York Times 8/13/15

On November 20, Yotam Polizer, director of the global partnership program of IsraAID, Israel’s biggest humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) spoke to about eighty people at The Emanuel Synagogue about the plight of the Yazidi. Alan Berkowitz, Vice Chair of Voices of Hope and Susan L. Rosenstein, Director of Connecticut Coalition for Yazidi Relief also spoke. Here are photos of the event. Click on a photo to enlarge it then scroll through the gallery.