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C of E backs bid to protect Yazidis from Islamic State

Anglican leaders have met with senior figures from the Yazidi community in the hope formal recognition will lead to their treatment by IS being classed as "religious persecution."

It is hoped classifying the Yazidis as a "persecuted religious group" will see them afforded greater protection and support from the international community.

It is thought thousands of Yazidis have been killed or forced to flee their homes by IS, or Daesh, who reportedly consider their ancient tradition a form of devil worship.

Providing emergency aid, health care and education, the AMAR Foundation ( says it has been working in the region around Iraq since 1991 and has been involved in talks between the Yazidi leaders and the Church of England.

Director of Communications at the AMAR Foundation, Robert Cole, told Premier one hurdle to Yazidism being formally recognised as a religion is that it doesn't have a written text.

He said: "If we can somehow ensure it has a book, it has a way of going forward and it's a recognised religion, maybe then we can get so many people on side, that the Daesh element will be dismissed completely.

"Taking the dreadful liberties that they have done, kidnapping 5,000 girls [and] slaughtering many more men ...the reason given by the extremists of Daesh is that 'it's not a religion so it's not worthy. We can do anything with them.'"

Robert also explained the idea which led to the talks taking place and why having the Church of England's support is important.

He said: "If we could invite the leading members of the Yazidi faith over here to speak to the senior members of the Church of England, who are obviously a very powerful body, certainly in the UK but also around the world, that they could begin to get some kind of ground swell of opinion to influence others."

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