Monday, May 07, 2007

Doaa Aswad Dekhil..

Patrick Cockburn writes today in The Independent about Doaa Aswad Dekhil...

The stoning to death of a teenage girl belonging to the Yazidi religious sect because she fell in love with a Muslim man has led to a spiral of violence in northern Iraq in which 23 elderly factory workers have been shot dead and 800 Yazidi students forced to flee their university in Mosul.

The killings began with an act of brutality horrific even by Iraqi standards.

A 17-year-old girl called Doaa Aswad Dekhil from the town of Bashika in the northern province of Nineveh converted to Islam. She belonged to the Yazidi religion, a mixture of Islam, Judaism and Christianity as well as Zoroastrian and Gnostic beliefs. The 350,000-strong Kurdish- speaking Yazidi community is centred in the north and east of Mosul and has often faced persecution in the past, being denounced as "devil worshippers".

On 7 April, Doaa returned home after she had converted to Islam in order to marry a Sunni Muslim who was also a Kurd. She had been told by a Sunni Muslim cleric that her family had forgiven her for her elopement and conversion. Instead she was met in Bashika by a large mob of 2,000 people led by members of her family.

What happened next was captured in a mobile phone video. It shows a dark-haired girl dressed in a red track suit top and black underwear with blood streaming from her face. As she tries to rise to her feet she is kicked and hit on the head with a concrete block.

Armed and uniformed police stand by watching her being killed over several minutes. Many in the crowd hold up their phone cameras to record the scene. Nobody tries to help her as she is battered to death.

Retaliation when it came was savage. On 23 April a bus carrying back workers from a weaving factory in Mosul to Bashika, which has a Christian as well as a Yazidi population, was stopped by several cars filled with unidentified gunmen at about 2pm. They asked the Christians to get off the bus, according to the police account. They then took the bus to eastern Mosul city where they lined up the men, mostly elderly, against a wall and shot them to death.

... Why this story has taken so long to come through, I do not know. Nothing can excuse the barbarity of these acts. To stone a person to death for falling in love is an act of evil by ignorant bigots. People have become brainwashed by religion and these acts show just how backward thinking some of humanity lives. When a mob rules like this there is no justice or security. People should have the right to believe what religious ideas they want and to fall in love with whoever they want. No society should stop people from forming relationships with other members of the same area, even if some of their views are different. These religious leaders rather than spreading love and peace are spreading hate and ignorance. It makes me sick when these religious leaders are given credit for the work they do in spreading their hatred against other people. It does not help when some people convert to these faiths and even that cannot save them from the evil spread through religion in our world today. Doaa was yet another victim to this mindless following of religion.

I am disgusted by what has happened to Doaa and other women in Kurdistan. There is little I can do apart from signing the International Campaign against killings and stoning of women in Kurdistan . I am now the 5,616th person to have signed this petition. This petition will not bring Doaa and other victims back but will show governments everywhere what the man in the street thinks of these avoidable tragedies.

This video records the last moments of Doaa Aswad Dekhil's life . It shows the brutality of the Yazidi religion.
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