In apparent reversal, Ezidi council will not accept children with ISIS fathers

Children, believed to be from the Ezidi community, after being evacuated from the Isis holdout of Baghouz, Syria, where they were being held by the jihadist group (AFP)

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SULAIMANI — In an apparent reversal, the Ezidi Supreme Spiritual Council issued a statement on Saturday (April 27) saying that children born to Ezidi women who were raped by Islamic State (ISIS) militants will not in fact be welcomed into the Ezidi community.

The Council released a statement on April 24 that appeared to imply it would welcome both Ezidi women who had been raped by ISIS fighters and children born of those rapes.

It added that media reporting on its earlier statement had distorted its meaning.

In the clarification, the Council said that it had not meant children whose fathers are ISIS fighters, but only those children had been abducted by the militant group and whose parents were both Ezidi.

Activists had hailed the earlier announcement as an historic step that would have enabled women and children to return home to their families and to begin rebuilding their lives. The new statement again casts doubt on the future of children with ISIS fathers, many of whom are living in displacement camps or have been sent to orphanages.

The issue of how to handle those children has posed a fraught question for the insular community, which has traditionally rejected mixed marriages and children born to non-Ezidi fathers.

Further complicating the issue is Iraqi law, which says that children born to Muslim fathers are automatically considered to be Muslim.

Thousands of Ezidis were murdered or abducted when ISIS militants attacked Sinjar in August 2014. Many women were raped and sold into sexual slavery by the hardline Islamist group.

More than 3,000 Ezidis were killed and another 3,000 remain missing.

(NRT Digital Media)