In a significant legal move, hundreds of Yazidi-Americans, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, have filed a lawsuit against French cement maker Lafarge, accusing it of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Yazidis, all U.S. citizens and survivors of ISIS violence, are represented by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and former U.S. diplomat Lee Wolosky. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, alleges that Lafarge "aided and abetted ISIS's acts of international terrorism and conspired with ISIS and its intermediaries," seeking compensation for the survivors.
The Yazidis, an ancient religious minority with a unique blend of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam, have been targeted by ISIS, which views them as devil-worshippers. Lafarge had previously pleaded guilty in U.S. court to making payments to groups designated as terrorists, including ISIS, to continue its operations in Syria. As part of the plea agreement, Lafarge agreed to pay $778 million in forfeiture and fines. The lawsuit contends that Lafarge's collaboration with ISIS occurred before, during, and after the terrorist organization carried out brutal attacks on the Yazidis. Nadia Murad, a survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, emphasized the tragic reality faced by thousands of Yazidi women and criticized powerful corporations like Lafarge for their alleged support of ISIS. This legal action follows a similar lawsuit filed in July by families of a U.S. aid worker and American soldiers who were victims of ISIS and the militant group Al-Nusra Front.