Yezidis are facing genocide in Northern Iraq and four San Francisco Bay Area Cooperation Circles are launching a campaign to raise awareness. And they're asking Cooperation Circles around the world to get on board too.
"We have become aware of the plight and needs of the Yezidis and other religious minorities in northern Iraq, Syrian and the Levant. Can you share these two opportunities to share solidarity with your Cooperation Circles?," wrote Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, in a recent email to other Cooperation Circles around the world. "In 2014 Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL/IS) targeted Yezidis and others for genocide. Over 420,000 Yezidis were routed from their homes. Thousands have been murdered. Hundreds of children have died of dehydration and lack of medical care."
The Marin Interfaith Council, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and Interfaith Center at the Presidio Cooperation Circles join Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County in launching this campaign.
They will hold a press conference on April 15 (the date of the Yezidi New Year and Yom HaShoah, the Jewish remembrance of the holocaust) at 10:30 at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, in cooperation with Yezidis International to express support for and solidarity with the Yezidis.
Join the Action
These Cooperation Circles are asking members of the URI family -- and others -- two show their support for the Yezidi people by signing two petitions. The online petition asks President Barack Obama, Senator Mitch McConnell and UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon to save the Yezidis from genocide. A second petition from Yezidis International is addressed to the United Nations.
Organizations or individual wishing to sign on to that petition should send their information to Rabbi Pamela at email@example.com.
McGarvey said he hopes these petitions are just the beginning of a bigger movement. "We are attempting to start the education process that we hope turns into actions," he said.
You can read the petition and McGarvey's full letter below.
Dear URI CC’s worldwide,
I’m Executive Director of a CC in Northern California, in the East Bay Area - the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, east and north of Berkeley. We have become aware of the plight and needs of the Yezidis and other religious minorities in northern Iraq, Syrian and the Levant. Can you share these TWO opportunities to share solidarity with your Cooperation Circles?
• The online petition asks the President, Senator McConnell and UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon to save the Yezidis from genocide. It can be found online here.
• The Yezidi International petition to the UN goes with my letter below. Please send your information to Rabbi Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We Belong to Each Other."
Shalom, Peace, Salaam, Om Shanti, Solh, Amani, Paz, ??, Ping On...
Rev. Will McGarvey,
Executive Director Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Petition to the United Nations
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director
April 8, 2015
Dear Fellow URI Cooperation Circles,
Please join us in launching a worldwide effort to raise consciousness about the Yezidis facing genocide in Northern Iraq by lending your individual name and the name of your organization to our statement below. The introduction to our statement focuses on Yezidis. The call focuses on Yezidis, other minorities and relief workers.
To add your individual name, please send your title, first and last name, city and state/province/country.
To add your organization, please send the name of your organization and your website address (url).
We hope you will join us!
Reverend Will McGarvey
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Raising our voices for the Yezidis
We, raise our voices in support of the Yezidis, a little-known people whose calendar enters 6765 on Yezidi New Year, April 15, 2015. Nearly half the world’s Yezidis live in North America, Europe and the former Soviet Union. The greater half—nearly 600,000 Yezidis—have been living in Northern Iraq.
Yezidis have their own religion and culture. Yezidis are not Kurds, but some Kurds descend from Yezidis. Yezidis are monotheists and they believe in angels, including Tawse Melek, the peacock angel. Misunderstandings about the Yezidi religion led Turkish, Kurdish and Arab Pashas of the Ottoman Empire to issue “farmans”—decrees—for their extermination. Yezidis were targeted in Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign; and in 2007, car bombs killed over 700 Yezidis and left 1000 wounded. Seventy-three “farmans” over 700 years caused the loss of twenty-two million Yezidis through murder and forced conversion.
In 2014 Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL/IS) targeted Yezidis and others for genocide. Over 420,000 Yezidis were routed from their homes. Thousands have been murdered. Hundreds of children have died of dehydration and lack of medical care. There are reports of Yezidi beatings and torture by Daesh and Kurdish forces, including arrests of Yezidis for Facebook posts. Thousands of Yezidi women and girls have been kidnapped, sold and traded as sex slaves and there are reports of gang rapes. Thousands of boys have been kidnapped and forced to convert and become child soldiers.
We call upon the United Nations and all sympathetic nations and relief and rescue organizations to
• Take all steps necessary to stem the tide of this seventy-fourth attempt at the eradication of Yezidis;
• Provide humanitarian aid for Yezidis and other minorities in refugee camps in Iraq, Syria and Turkey; and protect refugees from beatings, torture and rape of adults, as well as from child abuse.
• Negotiate the release of Yezidi and other sex slaves, the release of young men kidnapped and forced to be child soldiers, the freeing of women forced to convert and marry or become concubines, and the freeing of political activists.
• Resettle displaced Yezidis and other minorities in the area of Northern Iraq; open schools, and rebuild homes and holy shrines.
• Respect the unique faith and culture of Yezidi orphans by facilitating their adoption by willing Yezidi families in Europe and North America.
• Negotiate the release of Indian and other relief and rescue workers imprisoned by Daesh.
Send your sign up information to Rabbi Pam Frydman at email@example.com.
To add your name as an individual, send your title, first name, family name, city and state/province/country.
To add your organization, send the organization name, link to your website (url).
Individual names will appear in alphabetical order.
Rabbi Pamela Frydman, San Francisco, CA
Reverend Will McGarvey, Walnut Creek, CA
Organization names will appear in alphabetical order.
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, http://interfaithccc.