Outrage After Syrian Regime Imposes Sharia on Yazidis

The Syrian regime has imposed Islamic personal status laws on the Yazidi community, sparking outrage and fears for the ethnoreligious minority that faced genocide in neighboring Iraq.

A Justice Ministry circular issued on Sunday ruled that the Yazidi minority were not exempt from Islamic personal status laws, essentially terming the religion a sect of Islam rather than an independent religion.

Members of the community had earlier applied to form a Yazidi religious court to oversee family disputes and other issues of personal status.

That right is afforded to members of the Christian, Jewish, and Druze religious minorities under Syrian law.

Yazidis who hold Syrian citizenship will be forced to resolve issues of personal status in Islamic Sharia courts, according to the circular.

Members of the minority who do not hold Syrian citizenship will be referred to civil courts and treated as foreigners, the Justice Ministry said.

The application of Islamic religious law has sparked outrage among members of the Yazidi community in Syria.

The Yazidi Council of Syria slammed the move as a “flagrant violation of the most basic principles of human rights.”

Not only was the circular discriminatory to Yazidis in general by refusing to recognize them as a religion, the council said, it was also discriminatory against Yazidis who were stripped of their Syrian citizenship in the past.

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