Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Perspective: An Iraqi massacre rooted in interfaith love

Above: An Iraqi Yazidi carries an oil lamp as he throws clothes at the the tomb of Sheikh Adi bin Musafir in a religious ritual. Left: A Yazidi shrine.

BAGHDAD, April 22 -- The bad blood began to rise a few months ago in northern Iraq with the kind of interfaith love so reviled by Iraq's religious extremists: A Muslim woman eloped with a member of the tiny Yazidi religious sect.

It erupted in a massacre Sunday, police said, when Sunni gunmen in Mosul hijacked a busload of mostly Yazidi workers from a nearby town and shot and killed 23 of them, one by one.

The mass killing was the latest attack on religious minorities in Iraq, where human rights groups say Christians, Jews and members of other, smaller sects are often killed, persecuted or forced to convert by Muslim extremists. Last month in Kirkuk, two elderly Chaldean Catholic nuns were killed by armed men who stormed their house as they slept.

But police said Sunday that the Mosul killings appeared to be rooted not just in religious differences, but also in revenge.

Read the rest at the Washington Post