Genocide in Iraq (August 3)

German Islam associations remain silent on genocide crimes

Not a single German Islam association has used the Friday sermons to comment on the genocide crimes against the Yazidi people in Iraq eight years ago. The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) had contacted all the German Islam associations, asking them to clearly condemn the atrocities committed by the so-called “Islamic State” as of August 3, 2014. “It is a disappointment that not even one of the associations was willing to do so,” criticized Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant. “This is a fatal signal for a peaceful coexistence of the different religions in Iraq – but also in Germany.”

At the beginning of July, the Göttingen-based human rights organization had sent its appeal not only to the German Islam associations, but also to the Sunni Endowment Office in Iraq – the highest religious representation of the Iraqi Shiites – to the Kurdistan Union of Muslim Scholars, and the International Union of Muslim Scholars. The aim was to call on the believers to take a stand against radical Islamism – politically and ideologically. “Apparently, the associations did not think it was necessary to even respond to this call for a sign of solidarity with a religious community that is under pressure by Islamism,” Sido criticized. “Against the background of the religious tensions all over the world, the fact that Muslim associations in Germany are not willing to comment on the crimes is a disappointment.” Thus, the members of the religious community could have set a sign for a peaceful coexistence between all the religious groups in Iraq – showing the Yazidi community and members of other religious minorities, such as the Christians and the Mandaeans, that they are welcome in their home country Iraq and in Kurdistan. Such a signal of solidarity between the different religious communities could also encourage politicians to undergo more efforts to protect minority groups.  

In the course of the attacks on the Yazidi people of Iraqi Kurdistan, IS terrorists had killed at least 5,000 people who were not willing to convert to Islam. More than 6,000 Yazidi women and girls were abducted, raped, and sold on slave markets. Eight years later, more than 3,000 persons are still missing. More than 135,000 displaced persons are still living in refugee camps. Less than 35 percent of the people who were forced to flee from IS were so far able to return to the homes in the region of Sinjar in the far north-west of the country. Today, there are less than 120,000 people living there – in contrast to the at least 400,000 who were living there before the genocide. According to estimates, around 100,000 people have since left Iraq. It is assumed that most of them have found refuge in Germany.

On June 20, 2022, the Human Rights Committee of the German Bundestag issued a statement demanding that the genocide crimes should be officially acknowledged as such. An according decision by the Bundestag plenary will probably be issued in the course of this year.