‘World has forgotten us’: Obama administration denies asylum to most Yazidis who fled ISIL

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Special to WorldTribune.com
The Obama administration is ignoring the plight of Iraq’s Yazidis who fled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL’s) terror rampage last year, reports say.
Nearly all Yazidis who have applied for asylum in the Unites States have been turned away. The Yazidi faith includes elements of Christianity, ancient nature-worship, Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Judaism.
Yazidis in Iraq’s Sinjar mountains flee their homes to escape ISIL’s onslaught.

“The world has forgotten us,” said Iraqi parliament member Vian Dakhil, whose home in Sinjar town was destroyed by ISIL. “I know Sinjar was not the first town attacked by ISIL, but it was the first to have a mass kidnap.

“We have a thousand people that no one knows where they are. And yet we are totally forgotten.”

Dakhil said that when 250 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, there was a worldwide “bring back our girls” campaign led by Michelle Obama. But Dakhil got no response when she wrote to the U.S. first lady to ask for help for Yazidi women.

“I have been to the United Nations security council three times and spoken there,” she said. “Some people were crying. They applauded, then they said sorry, and goodbye.

“I have been to the European Parliament six or seven times. ‘Oh my god,’ they say, ‘what a terrible story.’ And then they do nothing.”

The threat of kidnappings and executions continues for the Yazidis, a Kurdish monotheistic community that lives throughout Iraq, Syria, Turkey and areas in Armenia and the Republic of Georgia. The reason for the U.S. denying asylum to Yazidis is not clear, FoxNews.com reported.

“What we are seeing, in real time, is genocide,” said Frank Wolf, a former congressman from Virginia and senior fellow at 21st Century Wilberforce, a nonprofit that seeks to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. “To declare it genocide, that would expedite relief. You can’t allow it to go on.”

Of the many thousands driven from their homes by ISIL, just 10 families have been granted asylum in the U.S., according to Yazda, an American-based Yazidi advocacy group. None of the visas were issued due to religious persecution.

“The procedures to get a U.S. visa are very complicated,” Jameel Ghanim, executive director of Yazda’s operations in Iraq, told FoxNews.com. “I can say it is impossible for the regular person to gain a visa unless he is business man, a diplomat, or already has one of his relatives with U.S. citizenship.”

Some are comparing the situation with the Yazidis to that of Chaldeans, an ancient Christian population driven from its historic home in Iraq. About 30 Chaldean Christians who crossed into the U.S. from Mexico are currently being detained in a federal facility in San Diego, and nearly a dozen have been ordered deported.

The Christian population in Iraq stood at 1.4 million in 2003. Now, Christian organizations say fewer than 250,000 remain.
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