The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday calling for the protection of Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the Middle East from the depredations of the Islamic State. A call for the establishment of safe havens for ethnic and religious minorities in the Nineveh Plains is part of the resolution.
The European Parliament is direct and unambiguous in its description of ISIS (which they also refer to as “Daesh,” a name ISIS fanatics are said to hate) as an Islamic entity, specifically noting that one of its “roots” is “Salafism, notably the extreme Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.”
Pains were taken to deny ISIS’s claim that it has established a “caliphate,” or Muslim religious capital, and the terror state was excoriated for its eagerness to kill or drive out Muslims it considers “apostates.”
The resolution expresses concern about “the financing of the dissemination of the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam by public and private entities of countries from the Gulf region and calls upon these countries to stop this financing.”
There is criticism of “certain countries’ ambivalent roles in the conflict” against ISIS, a puzzle that would not be difficult to solve given how this point of the resolution addresses European Union and NATO members, but Parliament solves the mystery for readers anyway by calling out Turkey by name, encouraging them to “play a positive role in the fight against ISIS / Daesh” and “without delay allow Christian minorities and other persecuted people fleeing from Syria” to cross its border and find refuge.
Safe havens for persecuted minorities in the Nineveh Plains and increased international humanitarian aid are also recommended to deal with the refugee situation. The Kurds are saluted because they have “done so much to protect endangered minorities.” The resolution affirms the right of all communities in Iraq and Syria to “continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to practice their religion freely.”
It is also noted that persecution of Christians and other minorities did not begin with the rise of the Islamic State. Sobering before-and-after numbers for the minority populations of Iraq and Syria are given, including the notation that “Christians in particular have been deliberately targeted by various extremist or jihadist groups for many years, forcing more than 70 % of Iraqi Christians and more than 700 000 Syrian Christians to flee their countries.”
In addition to the enslavement and murder of religious minorities, ISIS is cited for its efforts to destroy cultural sites and artifacts. On Thursday, the Iraqi government confirmed that ISIS has extensively damaged and looted Assyrian sites in the city of Khorsabad (known formerly as Dur-Sharrukin) and destroyed artifacts and ancient texts in Mosul.