Vatican City, Jan 24, 2018 / 10:12 am
Speaking to members of the Yazidi community, a religious minority which has been persecuted by the Islamic State, Pope Francis said Wednesday that everyone has a fundamental right to freedom of religion, and no person or group has the power to deny it.
"It is unacceptable that human beings be persecuted and killed because of their religious affiliation! Every person has the right to freely profess his religious beliefs without constraints," the Pope said Jan. 24 in a room adjoining the Vatican's Paul VI Hall to representatives of the Yazidi community who have taken refuge in Germany.
"I raise my voice in favor of Yazidi rights, above all the right to exist as a religious community: no one can bestow on themselves the power to cancel a religious group because it is not part of those called 'tolerated.'"
Yazidis are a religious minority largely from the Nineveh Plains in Iraq. Communities can also be found in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, though many have fled to Europe, and particularly Germany, in response to religious persecution.