ISIS Commander Justifies Massacre: ‘We Had Called Upon the Yazidis to Convert'

By Lauretta Brown | August 21, 2014 | 1:10 PM EDT

Yazidi woman and other displaced Iraqis at a refugee camp in Syria. (AP photo)

( — An Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) propaganda video released Wednesday includes an interview with a man identified as an ISIS military commander who defends the group's slaughter of hundreds of members of the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi sect.

“We had called upon the Yazidis to convert to Islam before the conquest of Sinjar and of Tel Afar. We were willing to guarantee their safety, and to provide for all their needs to the best of our ability, but they insisted on fighting us. I saw this with my own eyes. They remained in the mountains,” the unnamed ISIS commander, seen holding a weapon, says in the video, as translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq's minority Yazidis, burying some alive and taking women as slaves,” according to the Iraqi government. The plight of the Yazidis, who were trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq as they fled from ISIS terrorists, garnered international attention and prompted calls for emergency humanitarian aid.

In the ISIS video, which shows dozens of captured Yazidis converting to Islam, the commander is asked: ““Various politicized media outlets published false reports that you had killed the Yazidis, (forced) them to convert to Islam, and violated the honor of their women. How do you respond to these reports?”

“This is the opposite of what really happened,” he responds. “The Islamic State does its utmost for the repentance of any infidel – whether Yazidi, Crusader, or Jewish. We have been fighting for no other reason than to extract people from their kufr (unbelief) and to usher them into the fold of Islam.”

“But the Yazidis refused and insisted on fighting us. So we fought them, with the grace of Allah, and the city of Sinjar was conquered through the efforts of good people. We are now sitting in the city of Sinjar, which is under the rule of the mujahideen,” he says.

The commander also had a message for Yazidis who have not converted to Islam: “We advise, or even beseech, the Yazidis to come down from the mountains and convert, first and foremost in order to save their souls from the Hellfire, and secondly, if they remain in the mountains, they will die of hunger and thirst.”

“The help they get from the Western Crusader countries is nothing but a lie,” he continues. “Every day the (West) declares that it has helped them, but a few hours later, it announces how many Yazidis have died that day.”

The interview, translated in part by MEMRI, was followed with footage of dozens of Yazidi prisoners getting off a bus, hugging their ISIS captors, and then participating in a mass conversion ceremony. A longer version of the untranslated propaganda video was posted on YouTube.

“We are here to welcome our Yazidi brothers who have converted to Islam. They are coming in droves, praise be to Allah,” an ISIS fighter says as the bus pulls up.

“You are still infidels,” the Yazidis are told. “You will attest that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger - and thus you will become Muslims, our brothers, with the same duties and rights.”