Non-Muslims in Mideast Facing 'Holocaust,' Says France's Chief Rabbi

Rabbi Haim Korsia pleads with Europe to do more to protect the region's minorities during a Paris commemoration for Shoah victims.

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Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border. August 11, 2014.
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border. August 11, 2014.Credit: Reuters
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French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia made an urgent plea to Europe to defend non-Muslims in the Middle East, whom he likened to Holocaust victims.

Speaking Sunday at the Grand Synagogue in Paris at a commemoration for Holocaust victims, Korsia cited the Yazidis’ plight in Iraq as an example of a minority group in need of protection.

“The situation of religious minorities all over the world and especially in the Middle East resonates, unfortunately, with our commemoration today,” Korsia was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP. “As our parents wore the yellow star, Christians are made to wear the scarlet letter of ‘nun.’” The Hebrew letter nun is the same sound as the beginning of Nazareen, an Arabic term signifying people from Nazareth, or Christians.

According to reports, Muslim men in areas of Iraq that are controlled by the ISIS jihadist group have ordered Christians to wear the 14th letter of the Arabic letter on their clothes to make them instantly recognizable.

The ISIS fighters are also accused of murdering and torturing Christians as well as Yazidis, a predominantly Kurdish ethnic group that has adhered to a syncretic religion despite many years of oppression and threatened extermination.

“Hundreds of Yazidis were buried alive, their women sold as slaves,” said Korsia, adding that he wished for “a more urgent reaction by European nations, by France, to the attack on our fundamental roots, like what happened during the Holocaust” and that “we don’t arrive too late.”

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