Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Yazidi Rioters Burn KDP Headquarters Near Mosul

Hundreds of Yazidi rioters attacked the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the towns of Khana Sor and Jazira, west of Mosul, and took down the Kurdish flag and burned it, according to several Kurdish and Yazidi websites. The attacks came during a massive demonstration by the Yazidi community Friday protesting the threats against Yazidi workers in Erbil, Dohuk and Zakho, and recent religious edicts by Kurdish clerics sanctioning attacks against Yazidis, according to eyewitness accounts. Demonstrators pelted guards and Peshmerga forces with stones, and some stormed into the KDP headquarters destroying windows and furniture and setting several vehicles near the building on fire. Peshmerga troops reportedly opened fire and wounded three demonstrators, according to the Ezidi Inqad Movement.

Ninewa Deputy Governor Khisro Guran told the Peyamner News Agency Saturday that members of an armed group called the Yazidi Reform and Progress Movement, which he described as a “Ba’athist” group stirring chaos in Yazidi towns, attacked the KDP headquarters in Seba Sheikh Khidr, a village in the Qahtaniya district west of Mosul, and set it on fire late Friday.

Yazidi workers and students residing in the Kurdish autonomous region had received death threats, and angry Kurdish rioters almost broke into a hotel full of Yazidi workers in Erbil before security forces intervened several days ago. The Bahzani website reported that two Yazidi men were killed in Mosul by unknown gunmen. The Islamic State of Iraq insurgent group had claimed responsibility for killing 24 Yazidis in Mosul last week. The attack, which was described as the largest against the community in decades, was thought to be in response to the brutal murder of Doa Khalil Aswad, 17, a Yazidi girl who had engaged in a relationship with a Muslim Kurd, by her relatives amidst fanfare in the Yazidi town of Ba’shiqa east of Mosul on April 7.

Leaders of the Yazidi community, a tiny gnostic sect in northern Iraq, Turkey and Syria that combines Islamic teachings with ancient Babylonian and Persian religions, had condemned the crime against the young Yazidi woman, and denied that it was in response to her alleged conversion to Islam, as Kurdish websites had reported. Tahsin Beg Sa’eed Ali, the Emir of the Yazidi sect and head of the Higher Yazidi Spiritual Council, had strongly condemned the incident and called for restraint in a press statement on April 27. His residence and the Yazidi Cultural Center in Ain Sifni, east of Mosul, were reportedly attacked and burned down by Kurds last week.

Iraqi police in Ba’shiqa said that two people who participated in stoning the young girl were detained and that two of the girls’s uncles and four other people had fled the town while investigators continue to search for the rest of the culprits, including the girl’s brother, who had appeared in a cell phone video recording of the murder, which was widely circulated on the Internet. Aswad’s corpse was exhumed and sent to the Medico-legal Institute in Mosul several days ago before it was returned to the Sheikh Shams cemetery, medical sources told a Kurdish newspaper yesterday, but they did not disclose the results.