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.

JTA
JTA
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
JTA
JTA

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.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews

 A Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

Israel and Poland Fight Over History, Truth - and Israeli Students

A collage of the Bentwich family throughout the generations.

Unique Burial Plot in Jerusalem Tells Story of Extraordinary Jewish Dynasty