U.S. Yazidi Resident Reflects on Deaths in Iraq
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Hundreds were killed earlier this week when a string of truck bombs destroyed much of two villages in northern Iraq. It was the deadliest attack in that country since the war began, and it was targeted at the Yazidi. They are a small minority in Iraq and vulnerable because of their belief in a religion that has elements of Islam but also of ancient Persian religions.
ELIAS KASIM(ph): Back in Iraq, we're surrounded by people that would not even want us to breath. They believe we're devil worshippers, which we are not at all.
MONTAGNE: Elias Kasim is one of about 500 Yazidi living in Lincoln, Nebraska. They put down roots there after fleeing Iraq in 1991 during the Gulf War.
Mr. KASIM(ph): First Memphis, Tennessee and then Seattle, then Buffalo, and then Lincoln. Close to 50 families followed. There are some in Texas, some in Kentucky, Oklahoma, some in Utah. I mean, they all just came here and Lincoln.
MONTAGNE: Elias Kasim's wife lost members of her family in Wednesday's truck bombings. He took off work at a cereal plant in town when he heard the news.
Mr. KASIM: Our neighbors, actually, they all came and talked to me. Even my supervisors and managers they all contacted me right after I went home. And I was thinking of leaving Lincoln but it's just changed my view of how I look at Lincoln, especially the people. I probably will never leave Lincoln.
MONTAGNE: Elias Kasim is one of some 500 Yazidis who left Iraq to live in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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