“Religious Minorities in Iraq & Kurdistan: An Eyewitness Account of ISIS’ Attacks on Christians and Yazidis” September 19, 2014
Wednesday, Sept 24, 7:15 pm
Location: Good Samaritan Ministries, 7929 SW Cirrus Dr., Beaverton, OR 97008.
Hear from Matthew Barber who will speak about his experience living in northern Iraq this summer when ISIS attacked the Kurdistan Province, expelled Christians from Mosul, and displaced hundreds of thousands of Yazidis from Sinjar. (Matthew Barber is available for interviews in the Portland area until Sept 26.)
Violence erupted on the mountains of Sinjar during Matthew Barber’s research visit to the Dohuk region of northern Iraq.
“The Yazidis are keenly aware that they are the targets of a genocidal impulse,” wrote Barber in the New Statesman. As Barber, a graduate student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations focusing on Islamic Studies and Yazidism, explained on NPR, the extremists believe “the Yazidis are a polytheistic minority that doesn’t deserve to exist.”
Traveling throughout the Dohuk governate to visit refugee destination areas, Barber has heard tales of desperation and hysteria. “I’ve met countless Yazidi people since the crises began…These people have some very horrific tales,” Barber told the BBC. “We have seen a state of mass hysteria and panic.”
(As reported in the University of Chicago, Humanities Department website.)
Event Speaker: Matthew Barber is a scholar at the University of Chicago, working on his Ph.D. in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, specializing in Islamic thought. Matthew’s interests include Syria, Iraq, and minority religions of the Middle East. Matthew has lived, worked, studied, or traveled in 35 countries, including 10 countries with active Good Samaritan Ministries centers as well as most of the Arab World and Middle East. He has conducted research in northern Iraq and maintains the academic blog Syria Comment. This summer Matthew was living in Iraq’s Kurdistan Province when the Islamic State (IS) militant group expelled Christians from Mosul and attacked Sinjar, the homeland of the Yazidi religious minority. During the tragic crisis that unfolded, Matthew visited Yazidi refugees around the Dohuk governorate and worked to explain the history, religion, and society of the Yazidis—as well as the problem of persecution they face—to the international media. He also directed documentary film footage about the persecution facing the Christian minority of Iraq and Kurdistan.
Originally from Oregon and Washington, Matthew participated in Good Samaritan Ministries’ counselor training program more than ten years ago, which he credits with providing him the skills necessary to engage with people in the midst of pain and crisis. Good Samaritan Ministries offers Samaritan and counselor training with an unique approach which affirms the value and equality of all people and rescues people out of victim mentality, encouraging recovery and Good Samaritan outreach to others. In addition, the ministries offers counseling appointments with no fees in Beaverton, Vancouver, Washington, and other PNW locations as well as in more than 20 countries.
Links to Matthew Barber media appearances:
Sample radio appearances:
Radio France: https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/yazidi-refugees-flood-iraqi-kurdistan-as-supplies-dry-up
Full interview for US public radio program Interfaith Voices: http://interfaithradio.org/Story_Details/The_Plight_of_the_Yazidis