Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Independence Referendum Too Close to Call (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Scottish referendum in the media

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Homosexuality in Africa: Kenyan movie debuts at Toronto Film Festival

Read more

DEBATE

If Scotland Says 'Aye': Polls Say Indpendence Referendum Too Close to Call

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Inger Andersen, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, The World Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Scottish referendum: Should I stay or should I go?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Paris conference: A coalition against the Islamic State group

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Spies, doppelgangers and gay rights activists

Read more

Middle East

Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

© FRANCE 24 | Khayni Murad, a refugee in the northern Iraqi village Lalish

Video by Fatma KIZILBOGA , Adam PLETTS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-27

Lalish, a small village in northern Iraq, is the spiritual capital of the Yazidi people. The ethnic and religious minority believe it was the only place to survive the Great Flood, and that it was where Noah landed his ark to recreate humanity.

Now, it is just as much a refugee camp as it is a sacred site. Since the Islamic State organisation (IS) launched its offensive in Iraq earlier this summer, around a thousand people have fled to Lalish to seek shelter.

“I don’t know why [IS] is doing this to us. We don’t understand their mentality. They are killing our men and even our women,” said the Yazidis’ spiritual leader, also known as the Baba Sheikh.

Over the past month, the Baba Sheikh has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of Iraq’s 700,000 Yazidis – 400,000 of whom are now displaced. He described IS’s campaign against his people as a genocide.

Some of those who have taken refuge in Lalish now hope to emigrate to a brighter future.

“We’re afraid, this is why we all want to go. If we felt protected we wouldn’t want to leave but we’re not protected here in Iraq,” said one woman.

While some of the displaced dream of a life far away, there are others, like Khayni Murad, who are determined to stay and fight.

“I tell you I actually already fought [IS]. It was three in the morning when they came, and we fought until seven. I swear to God that we are ready to fight them if any country provides us with weapons to form an army. I will fight until my last breath,” he said.

Date created : 2014-08-27

  • USA - SYRIA

    Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria ready to work with any state to fight ‘terrorism’

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    IS militants capture key Syrian air base in bloody battle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)