A powerful couple of articles at MEMRI by Kurdish author Hussein Sinjari, owner of the liberal daily Al-Ahali:
"Religious minorities in the Middle East - Jews, Christians, and Baha'is - played a pioneering role in the blossoming of the sciences, philosophy, music, song, linguistics, lexicography, the press, and in ideological associations and parties… as well as in spreading the call for gender and ethnic equality and democracy, as well as in banking and in the economy - and I could go on. Whether in carpentry, metalwork, education, or medicine, the religious minorities made pioneering, creative contributions in all walks of life in the region.
"Today, the Christians are leaving these countries - their countries - after having lived in them generation after generation, with open minds, open hearts, and open arms. And before them, [it was] the Jews [who] left the Islamic countries.
"Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Jews, Baha'is, and Christians left the country, and those who are left are still trying to get out, because of the discrimination, the racism, and the repression.
"In Turkey, following the Turkish genocide against the Armenians in 1915 and the other massacres and repression of Christians [and] Yazidis, the Assyrian and Chaldean Christians emigrated from their villages in their historic regions, just as the Yazidis emigrated, to the extent that today they no longer have any significant presence in the Turkish Republic.
"The emigration of the religious minorities is an indication of the decline of the culture of tolerance and the rise to prominence of its opposite: religious fanaticism, hatred of the other, and the spread of ideologies of obscurantist extremism.
"Religious or nationalist fanaticism is a grave epidemic that affects individuals as it affects societies. The virus causes the death of its carrier and transmitter and [anyone] who contracts it, whether an individual, a group, or a people (umma). The fanatics who claim a monopoly on the truth, on Allah, and on Paradise, are dead in their hearts, their brains, and in their humanity. Their consciences are dead.
And, in response to the recent terrorist attack on the Yazidi:
"In Kurdistan, and in… Kirkuk, Sinjar, and Khanaqin, the vile terrorists are trying to reserve front-row seats in Paradise, which is becoming more crowded day by day with scum, murderers, and conscienceless, malicious fanatics. This has reached the point where it will be perplexingly [difficult] for the management of Paradise, in this state of affairs, to provide the overwhelming numbers of female angels and boy-servants to these barbaric criminals who are so hungry and thirsty for sex…
"They want to buy a ticket to Paradise with the blood and agony of innocents. What teachings, of what belief system - what verses permit all of this killing, destruction, and hellfire, with all its agony? The obscurantist suicide bombers, who hate life, hope, beauty, love, happiness, construction, and development in this life, hate those 'others' who do not resemble them in their religion, habits, customs, ways of thinking, ways of worship, and in their robes and beards.
Update: Michael J. Totten on the Yezidi massacre, "the most deadly terrorist attack in the world since September 11, 2001".