The peacemakers may be blessed but even the most secure pacifist must sometimes be challenged by man’s capacity for brutality and carnage. The slaughter of at least 500 Iraqi Yazidi by Islamic State militants for no reason other than their religious identity must be one such dreadful moment.
The Sunni zealots are alleged to have buried some victims, including women and children, alive. About 300 women were kidnapped as slaves. The militants view the Yazidi as “devil worshipers” and demand that they convert to Islam or face death. That these atrocities are carried out in the name of religion makes the genocide even more incomprehensible.
The welcome intervention of the US is unlikey to bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion but it may curb the deranged Islamic State forces and offer an opportunity for some Yazidi to escape to a less hostile environment. Let us hope it does. It will not however resolve an age-old question: Why is religion, an idea concerned with veneration and love, so often hijacked by the intolerant, the bigotted and the insane to give expression to to the most murderous hatred?
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