When it comes to religious persecution, ISIS knows no borders. Much of the terror – including execution, kidnapping, rape and slavery – has fallen on Christian Assyrian communities of Syria and Iraq as well as on the Yazidis, a people whose unique and distinct religion have made them the target of oppression throughout their centuries-old history.
Yet the fingerprints of ISIS have been found as far north as the Caucasus, specifically during April’s four-day war between the Armenian-populated Karabagh Republic and Azerbaijan. Azeri recruits comprise a number of ISIS, including its high-level commanders, and many reportedly returned to participate in Azerbaijan’s offensive against Karabagh. In true ISIS fashion, the beheading of a captured Yazidi soldier serving in the Armenian military was made public through social media. Bodies of killed Armenian soldiers and civilians showed obvious signs of mutilation.
Certainly, intolerance is similarly not confined to borders, nationality, or time, as the horrors of ISIS recall those of the Spanish Inquisition and the Nazis. If history is any indication, ISIS will be defeated, but it is and will remain as one more reminder that without tolerance, there can be no sustained commerce, no exchange of ideas, no civilization.
Avo Manoukian, Fresno