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Spiritual Leader of Iraq’s Yazidi Minority Dies at 87

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Iraq’s Yazidi minority paid its last respects to its spiritual leader on Friday as tributes poured in for the cleric, who guided his flock through the horrors of ISIS militant group occupation and its aftermath.
Baba Sheikh Khurto Hajji Ismail died late on Thursday at the age of 87, his office said, AFP reported.
He was known for his forgiveness and compassion towards Yazidis who survived ISIS.
The late leader also welcomed the children of Yazidi women raped by ISIS men back into the minority faith.
ISIS marched into the Yazidi villages of the Sinjar Mountains in 2014 turning thousands of women into slaves and forcing children to fight in what the United Nations has classified as "genocide" against Yazidis.
Three years later, thousands had died and nearly 100,000 had fled abroad.
Nadia Murad, 26, who was subjected to life as a slave under ISIS and won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work highlighting the horrors of the group’s rule, said the community had lost a “beacon of light,” who “treated Yazidi survivors with love & respect.”
The Iraqi government also paid tribute to a “man of peace” who had preached “brotherhood and friendship.”
According to AFP, following the week’s mourning his son will be anointed as successor.

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