Far away from home, Yazidi student in Delhi prays for family’s safety

‘ISIS has given ultimatum that they will kill 150 families this Friday’

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published:September 4, 2014 4:02 am
Seeks India’s help for his community.Source: Renuka Puri Seeks India’s help for his community. Source: Renuka Puri

Three years ago, when he came to India to study pharmacy, Hussein (name changed) was just another Iraqi student pursuing his dream of a better future. Today, that dream is perhaps the last thing on his mind. One of the two Yazidis left in India, he fears for the safety of his family back home — as well as his own.

Hussein says his family had to leave their home in Shekhan district and flee to the mountains because of the advancing Islamist militant group ISIS, which has been targeting his religious community. “Seventy people from my community were forced by the ISIS to convert at gunpoint. My family fled our home for fear of the advancing ISIS forces and are living in the mountains but Kurdish forces are constantly trying to push them back,” says Hussein.

“ISIS has given an ultimatum that they will kill 150 families this Friday. I am worried about my parents, brothers and sisters. There are very few people from my religion and we are being targeted by ISIS. I want the Indian government to help us,” says the 25-year-old, who was among 16 students from the community who came to study at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bangalore.

He says contact with his family has been limited to a few

SMSes every three or four days, when one of his brothers comes down from the mountains to the city to buy rations and gets to charge the family’s mobile phone.

Fourteen of Hussein’s Yazidi collegemates went back home for the vacations. Some of them have since gone missing while others are living in the mountains, surviving on the limited rations that the Kurdish forces dole out. Hussein and another student stayed back to study — something that he has barely done in the past few days.

He took leave from his college principal for the trip to Delhi so that he could help his family and community by highlighting their plight.

In Delhi, Hussein lives in fear of being attacked by fellow Iraqi students given the vitiated atmosphere at home. In the 10 days that he has been here, he has shifted hotels twice, finally taking refuge in a religious place in central Delhi with the help from a relief organisation. Hussein is being helped in his efforts to garner support for his community by an NGO called the Live Values Foundation, which has now relocated him to a safe location.

“Our MP Vian Dakhil ( who recently highlighted the plight of the Yazidis in Iraqi Parliament) was supposed to come to India and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But she was injured in a helicopter crash. Now a three-member delegation will come to India to talk to the Indian government about the plight of the Yazidis,” he says.

Talking about the pre-ISIS days, he says Iraq was “as safe for us as for any other Iraqi”. “That has now changed and every day there are more reports of deaths and torture of my community by that militia. I do not know how to make the international community wake up to what we are going through,” he says.

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  1. S
    siddharth
    Jan 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm
    Yes india must help all people sted and oppressed in iraq , christians,muslims ,yazidi's we are with you brothers .Modi can take some action to help them , he is a very good person but a victim of politics. Yazidi's are under a lot of threat .
    Reply
    1. A
      Abhishek
      Sep 4, 2014 at 4:47 am
      High time Indian government rescue Yazidis and Christians, who are being cuted in Iraq in the name of Islam and bring them to India. India has always welcomes peaceful groups like Parsis and Jews, do not see a reason why we cannot accommodate a few more people - who are in genuine need of help, compared to the 3 crore illegal Bangladeshis whose only objective is to indulge in terror, crime and be a nuisance
      Reply
      1. R
        Raj
        Sep 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm
        Indians stand with you. Have hope- it is always darkest before the light.
        Reply
        1. A
          awesome
          Dec 19, 2014 at 7:49 am
          Atrocities against These harmless ppl by crazies of islam will get no support from stupid india but few s die by s only and lo whining of indians start.
          Reply
          1. A
            Anon
            Sep 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm
            Time India stands up for the Yazidis. Let's offer them a safe haven!
            Reply
            1. B
              Big
              Sep 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm
              Yes, India is now a global power. We should go to the rescue of all oppressed people. The Yazidis are a peaceful lot. They are NOT Muslims. India could easily absorb them. They are basically agriculturists by profession.
              Reply
              1. M
                Maneck Bhujwala
                Sep 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm
                When there is attempted genocide and forced conversion anywhere in the world, nations of the world must unite to defeat such forces. In the seventh century A.D. when Arab Muslim armies invaded the Persian empire, they used the same brutal means used by ISIS today - genocide, forced conversions to Islam, enslavement, kidnapping women and forced marriages to Muslims, humiliation, heavy taxation, etc. over centuries following the invasion, that eventually reduced the majority Zarathushti (Zoroastrian) potion of Iranian lands to a small minority surviving in desert and mountain areas. Only one group that migrated to India was able to survive and prosper under Hindu rulers who allowed them to practice their own 5000 year old monotheistic religion of one God, Ahuramazda (Wise Lord), equality of all men and women, moral accountability for one's actions, justice, compion, charity, rational thinking, etc. India should join USA and other countries to protect Yazidis and other minorities and fight ISIS forces.Maneck Bhujwala
                Reply
                1. M
                  Maneck Bhujwala
                  Sep 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm
                  Whenever there is attempted genocide and forced conversions anywhere in the world, all nations must unite to fight the perpetrators and protect the innocent. In the seventh century A.D. when Arab Muslim armies invaded the Persian empire, they used the same brutal means as used by ISIS today to commit genocide, forced conversions, enslavement, kidnapping of women and forced marriages to Muslim men, humiliation, heavy taxation, etc. over centuries after the invasion, which resulted in the majority Zarathushti (Zoroastrian) potion of Iran reduced to a small minority living mostly in desert and mountain areas, with only one group migrating to India (later joined by others from Iran) where they survived and prospered under Hindu rulers who allowed them to practice their ancient 5000 year old monotheistic religion founded by Prophet Zarathushtra (known as Zoroaster by Greek philosophers who studied his teachings) of One God, equality of all men and women, moral accountability for one's actions, rational thinking, a life of moderation with good thoughts, good words and good deeds.Maneck Bhujwala
                  Reply
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