The Yazidis, or Yezidis (/jəˈziːdiːz/ ( listen)
Kurmanji Kurdish: Êzidî, IPA: [eːzɪˈdiː]),
are a Kurdish religious minority indigenous to
a region of northern
Mesopotamia (known natively as Ezidkhan) who are
strictly endogamous. Their religion, Yazidism, is linked to
Mesopotamian religions and combines aspects of Zoroastrianism,
Christianity and Judaism.
Yazidis who marry
Yazidis are automatically considered to be converted to the
religion of their spouse and therefore are not permitted to call
themselves Yazidis. They live primarily in the Nineveh
Province of Iraq. Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey,
Syria have been in decline since the 1990s as a result of
significant migration to Europe, especially to Germany. According
UNCHR reports, it is disputed, even within the community, as
well as among Kurds, whether
Yazidis are ethnically
Kurds or form a
distinct ethnic group.
Yazidis are monotheists,:71 believing in
creator of the world, which he has placed under the care of seven holy
beings or angels, the chief of whom is Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel.
The Peacock Angel, as world-ruler, causes both good and bad to befall
individuals, and this ambivalent character is reflected in myths of
his own temporary fall from God's favour, before his remorseful tears
extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he was reconciled
This belief has been linked by some people to
reflections on Iblis, who also refused to prostrate to Adam, despite
God's express command to do so. Because of this similarity to the
Sufi tradition of Iblis, some followers of other monotheistic
religions of the region identify the Peacock
Angel with their own
unredeemed evil spirit Satan,:29 which has incited centuries
of persecution of the
Yazidis as "devil worshippers".
Yazidis has continued in their home communities within
the borders of modern Iraq, under fundamentalist Sunni Muslim
Beginning in August 2014, the
Yazidis were targeted by the Islamic
Iraq and the Levant in its campaign to rid
Iraq and its
neighbouring countries of non-Islamic influences.
1.6 Western Europe
3 Religious beliefs
3.1 Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel
3.2 Descendants of Adam
Yazidi holy texts
5 Religious practices
5.2 Calendar and festivals
5.3 Purity and taboos
6 Western perceptions
6.1 In Theosophy
6.2 In Western literature
6.2.1 In US Army memoirs
7 Persecution of Yazidis
7.1 Under the Ottoman Empire
7.2 In post-invasion Iraq
7.3 By the Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Yazidi leaders and Chaldean clergymen meeting in Mesopotamia, 19th
Yazidis lived primarily in communities located in
Syria and also had significant numbers in
Armenia, Georgia and Iran. However, events since the end of the 20th
century have resulted in considerable demographic shift in these areas
as well as mass emigration. As a result, population estimates are
unclear in many regions, and estimates of the size of the total
The bulk of the
Yazidi population lives in Iraq, where they make up an
important minority community. Estimates of the size of these
communities vary significantly, between 70,000 and 500,000. They are
particularly concentrated in northern
Iraq in the Nineveh Province.
The two biggest communities are in Shekhan, northeast of
Mosul and in
Sinjar, at the Syrian border 80 kilometres (50 mi) west of Mosul.
In Shekhan is the shrine of
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir at Lalish. In the
early 1900s most of the settled population of the Western Desert were
Yazidi. During the 20th century, the Shekhan community struggled
for dominance with the more conservative
Sinjar community. The
demographic profile has probably changed considerably since the
beginning of the
Iraq War in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's
According to the Human Rights Watch,
Yazidis were under the
Arabisation process of
Saddam Hussein between 1970 and 2003. In 2009,
Yazidis who had previously lived under the
Arabisation process of
Saddam Hussein complained about the political tactics of the Kurdistan
Regional Government that were intended to make
themselves as Kurds. A report from
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch (HRW),
in 2009, declares that to incorporate disputed territories in northern
Iraq—particularly the Nineveh province—into the Kurdish region,
the KDP authorities had used KRG's political and economical resources
Yazidis identify themselves as Kurds. The HRW report also
criticises heavy-handed tactics."
While geographically located in Kurdish regions,
Yazidi do not
self-identify as Kurdish. There has been a dispute as to whether
Yazidi are Kurdish.:48:219 Additionally, the Soviet Union
Yazidis to be Kurds, as does Sharaf Khan Bidlisi's
Sheref-nameh of 1597, which cites seven of the Kurdish tribes as being
at least partly Yazidi, and Kurdish tribal confederations as
Yazidi sections. Modern
disagree with this classification.
According to the
UNCHR reports, it is disputed, even among the
community itself as well as among Kurds, whether
Kurds or form a distinct ethnic group.
The Yazidis' cultural practices are observably Kurdish, and almost all
Kurmanji (Northern Kurdish).
Yazidis in Syria
Syria live primarily in two communities, one in the
Al-Jazira area and the other in the Kurd-Dagh. Population numbers
for the Syrian
Yazidi community are unclear. In 1963, the community
was estimated at about 10,000, according to the national census, but
numbers for 1987 were unavailable. There may be between about
12,000 and 15,000
Syria today, though more than half
of the community may have emigrated from
Syria since the 1980s.
Estimates are further complicated by the arrival of as many as 50,000
Yazidi refugees from
Iraq during the
Yazidis in Georgia
Yazidi population in Georgia has been dwindling since the 1990s,
mostly due to economic migration to
Russia and the West. According to
a census carried out in 1989, there were over 30,000
Georgia; according to the 2002 census, however, only around 18,000
Yazidis remained in Georgia. However, by other estimates, the
community fell from around 30,000 people to fewer than 5,000 during
the 1990s. Today they number as little 6,000 by some estimates,
including recent refugees from
Sinjar in Iraq, who fled to Georgia
following persecution by ISIL. On 16 June 2015,
the opening of a temple and a cultural centre named after Sultan Ezid
in Varketili, a suburb of Tbilisi. This is the third such temple in
the world after those in
Iraqi Kurdistan and Armenia.
Yazidis in Armenia
According to the 2011 census, there are 35,272
Yazidis in Armenia.
Ten years earlier, in the 2001 census, 40,620
Yazidis were registered
in Armenia. Media have estimated the number of
Yazidis in Armenia
to be between 30,000 and 50,000. Most of them are the descendants of
refugees who fled to
Armenia in order to escape the persecution that
they had previously suffered during Ottoman rule, including a wave of
persecution which occurred during the Armenian Genocide, when many
Armenians found refuge in
Yazidis in Turkey
Yazidi men in Mardin, Turkey, late 19th century
Yazidi community of
Turkey declined precipitously during
the 20th century. By 1982, the community had decreased to about
30,000, and in 2009 there were fewer than 500. Most of them have
immigrated to Europe, particularly Germany; those who remain reside
primarily in their former heartland of Tur Abdin.
Yazidis in Germany,
Yazidis in France, and
This mass emigration has resulted in the establishment of large Yazidi
diaspora communities abroad. The most significant of these is in
Germany, which now has a
Yazidi community of more than 100,000 living
primarily in Celle, Bremen,
Bad Oeynhausen and Oldenburg. Most are
Turkey and, more recently,
Iraq and live in the western states of
North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Since 2008,
seen sizeable growth in its
Yazidi emigrant community, which had grown
to around 4,000 by 2010, and a smaller community exists in the
Yazidi diaspora groups live in Belgium, Denmark,
France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and
Australia; these have a total population of probably less than
Feleknas Uca, a
Yazidi Member of the
European Parliament for Germany's
Party of Democratic Socialism, was the world's only Yazidi
parliamentarian until the Iraqi legislature was elected in 2005.
Yazidis have contributed to the academic community, such as
Khalil Rashow in
Jalile Jalil in Austria.
In May 2012, four members of a
Yazidi family living in Detmold,
Germany were convicted for having murdered their sister in a so-called
"honour killing" and sentenced to terms ranging from four-and-a-half
years to life in prison. The victim was 18-year-old Arzu Özmen (also
spelled Ozmen outside Germany), who fell in love with a German
journeyman baker and ran away from her family, violating the exogamy
taboo. In November 2011, her siblings abducted her, and brother Osman
killed her with two shots in the head.
Yazidi people speak
Kurmanji Kurdish and adhere to the
religion Yazidism. Their cultural practices are observed in Kurdish,
which is also the language of almost all the orally transmitted
religious traditions of the Yazidis. Although the
mostly in Kurdish, their exact origin is a matter of dispute among
scholars, even among the community itself as well as among Kurds,
whether they are ethnically
Kurds or form a distinct ethnic
group. In Armenia, the
recognized as a distinct ethnic group.
The Yazidis' own name for themselves is Êzidî or Êzîdî or, in
some areas, Dasinî (the latter, strictly speaking, is a tribal name).
Western scholars derive the name from the
Umayyad Caliph Yazīd ibn
Muʿāwiya (Yazid I), who is revered by
Yazidis as Sultan Ezi.
Earlier scholars and many
Yazidis derive it from
Old Iranian yazata,
Middle Persian yazad 'divine being'.
Yazidi man in traditional clothes
One of the important figures of Yazidism is 'Adī ibn Musafir, who is
said to be of
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir settled in the
valley of Laliş (some 58 kilometres (36 mi) northeast of Mosul)
in the Yezidi mountains in the early 12th century and founded the
Sufi order. He died in 1162, and his tomb at Laliş is a
focal point of
Yazidi pilgrimage and the principal
site. Yazidism has many influences:
Sufi influence and imagery can
be seen in the religious vocabulary, especially in the terminology of
the Yazidis' esoteric literature, but much of the theology is
non-Islamic. Its cosmogony apparently has many points in common with
those of ancient
Iranian religions blended with elements of
Mesopotamian religious traditions and
Zoroastrianism. It is also believed that Yazidism is a branch of
Yazdânism, the pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. Early
writers attempted to describe
Yazidi origins, broadly speaking, in
terms of Islam, or Persian, or sometimes even "pagan" religions;
however, research published since the 1990s has shown such an approach
to be simplistic. The origin of Yazidism is now usually seen by
scholars as a complex process of syncretism, whereby the belief system
and practices of a local faith had a profound influence on the
religiosity of adherents and caused it to deviate from Islamic norms
relatively soon after the death of its founder.
Another theory of
Yazidi origins is given by the Persian scholar
Al-Shahrastani. According to Al-Shahrastani, the Yezidis are the
followers of Yezîd bn Unaisa, who kept friendship with the first
Muhakkamah before the Azariḳa. The first Muhakkamah is an
appellative applied to the Muslim schismatics called Al-Ḫawarij.
Accordingly, it might be inferred that the Yezidis were originally a
Ḫarijite sub-sect. Yezid bn Unaisa moreover, is said to have been in
sympathy with the Ibadis, a sect founded by 'Abd-Allah Ibn
Main article: Yazdânism
Yazidis are monotheists, believing in one God, who created the
world and entrusted it into the care of a Heptad of seven
often known as Angels or heft sirr (the Seven Mysteries). The names of
these beings or angels are Azaz'il or Melek Taus, Gabra'il (Jabra'il),
Mikha'il, Rafa'il (Israfil), Dadra'il, Azrafil and Shamkil (Shemna'il)
 Preeminent among these is Tawûsê Melek (frequently known as
"Melek Taus" in English publications), the Peacock Angel.
Tawûsê Melek is often identified by
According to claims in Encyclopedia of the Orient,
The reason for the Yazidis' reputation of being devil worshipers is
connected to the other name of Melek Taus, Shaytan, the same name the
Koran has for Satan.
Yazidis, however, believe Tawûsê Melek is not a source of evil or
wickedness. They consider him to be the leader of the archangels, not
a fallen angel.
Yazidis of Kurdistan have been called many things, most
notoriously 'devil-worshippers,' a term used both by unsympathetic
neighbours and fascinated Westerners. This sensational epithet is not
only deeply offensive to the
Yazidis themselves, but quite simply
Yazidis have associated
Melek Taus with Shaitan
(Islamic/Arab name) or Satan, but
Yazidis find that offensive and do
not actually mention that name.
Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel
Main article: Melek Taus
Yazidis believe in a divine triad, like the Alawites.:3 The
original god of the
Yazidis is considered to be remote and inactive in
relation to his creation. His first emanation is Tawûsê Melek,
who functions as the ruler of the world. The second hypostasis of this
Sheikh Adî. The third is Sultan Ezid. These are the three
hypostases of the one God. The identity of these three is sometimes
Sheikh Adî considered to be a manifestation of Tawûsê
Melek and vice versa. The same also applies to Sultan Ezid. Besides
the triad, the second peculiar feature of
Yazidi belief is the
similarity between Tawûsê Melek and the Abrahamic
Satan (the Islamic
Iblīs). A popular
Yazidi story narrates the fall of Tawûsê Melek
and his subsequent rejection by humanity, with the exception of the
Kitêba Cilwe "Book of Illumination", which claims to be the words
of Tawûsê Melek, and which presumably represents
states that he allocates responsibilities, blessings and misfortunes
as he sees fit and that it is not for the race of
Adam to question
Sheikh Adî believed that the spirit of Tawûsê Melek was the
same as his own, perhaps as a reincarnation. He is reported to have
I was present when
Adam was living in Paradise, and also when Nemrud
Abraham in fire. I was present when
God said to me: 'You are the
ruler and Lord on the Earth'. God, the compassionate, gave me seven
earths and throne of the heaven.
Yazidi accounts of creation differ from that of Judaism, Christianity
and Islam. They believe that
God first created Tawûsê Melek from his
own (God's) illumination (Ronahî) and the other six archangels were
God ordered Tawûsê Melek not to bow to other beings.
God created the other archangels and ordered them to bring him
dust (Ax) from the Earth (Erd) and build the body of Adam. Then, God
gave life to
Adam from his own breath and instructed all archangels to
bow to Adam. The archangels obeyed except for Tawûsê Melek. In
answer to God, Tawûsê Melek replied, "How can I submit to another
being! I am from your illumination while
Adam is made of dust." Then,
God praised him and made him the leader of all angels and his deputy
on the Earth. (This probably furthers what some see as a connection to
the Islamic Shaytan, as according to the Quran, he too refused to bow
Adam at God's command, though in this case it is seen as being a
sign of Shaytan's sinful pride.) Hence, the
Yazidis believe that
Tawûsê Melek is the representative of
God on the face of the Earth
and comes down to the Earth on the first Wednesday of
Yazidis hold that
God created Tawûsê Melek on this day and celebrate
it as New Year's Day.
Yazidis argue that the order to bow to
only a test for Tawûsê Melek, since if
God commands anything then it
must happen. (Bibe, dibe). In other words,
God could have made him
submit to Adam, but gave Tawûsê Melek the choice as a test. They
believe that their respect and praise for Tawûsê Melek is a way to
acknowledge his majestic and sublime nature. This idea is called
"Knowledge of the Sublime" (Zanista Ciwaniyê). Şêx Adî has
observed the story of Tawûsê Melek and believed in him.
Descendants of Adam
One of the key creation beliefs held by
Yazidis is that they are the
Adam through his son Shehid bin Jer rather than
Eve.[not in citation given] The
Yazidis believe that before Adam
and Eve copulated with each other for the first time, Tawûsê Melek
encouraged them to see if they could reproduce on their own. He had
the couple place their reproductive fluids in jars and store them for
several months. When each jar was opened several months later, Eve's
was found to contain vermin and insects, and Adam's was found to have
contained a beautiful baby boy, Shehid bin Jer. This lovely child,
known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor
of the Yazidis. Therefore, the
Yazidis regard themselves as descending
Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both
Eve.:33 This is the reason given for
Yazidis being exclusively
endogamous; clans do not intermarry with non-
Yazidis and accept no
converts to Yazidism. A severe punishment for
breaking this rule is expulsion, which is also effectively
excommunication as the soul of the exilee is forfeit.
A belief in the reincarnation of lesser
Yazidi souls also exists. Like
the Ahl-e Haqq, the
Yazidis use the metaphor of a change of garment to
describe the process, which they call kiras guhorîn in Kurmanji
(changing the garment). Spiritual purification of the soul can be
attained via continual reincarnation within the faith group, but it
can also be halted by means of expulsion from the
this is the worst possible fate, since the soul's spiritual progress
halts and conversion back into the faith is impossible. Alongside
this notion of continuous rebirth,
Yazidi theology also includes
descriptions of heaven and hell, with hell extinguished, and other
traditions incorporating these ideas into a belief system that
Yazidi holy texts
Yazidi holy books are claimed to be the
Kitêba Cilwe (Book of
Revelation) and the Mishefa Reş (Black Book). However, scholars
generally agree that the manuscripts of both books published in 1911
and 1913 were forgeries written by non-
Yazidis in response to Western
travellers' and scholars' interest in the
Yazidi religion; the
material in them is consistent with authentic
however. True texts of those names may have existed, but remain
obscure. The real core texts of the religion that exist today are the
hymns known as qawls; they have also been orally transmitted during
most of their history, but are now being collected with the assent of
the community, effectively transforming Yazidism into a scriptural
religion. The qawls are full of cryptic allusions and usually need
to be accompanied by čirōks or 'stories' that explain their
Yazidi society is hierarchical. The secular leader of the world's
Yazidi is a hereditary emir or prince, and the current emir is Prince
Tahseen Said. A chief sheikh, the Baba Sheikh, heads the religious
hierarchy of the Yazidis, and the current
Sheikh is Khurto Hajji
Yazidis are strictly endogamous; members of the three
Yazidi castes, the murids, sheikhs, and pirs, marry only within their
group. Marriage outside the caste is considered a sin punishable by
death to restore lost honour.
Temple entry at Lalish
Yazidis have five daily prayers:
Nivêja berîspêdê (the Dawn Prayer), Nivêja rojhilatinê (the
Sunrise Prayer), Nivêja nîvro (the Noon Prayer), Nivêja êvarî
(the Afternoon Prayer), Nivêja rojavabûnê (the Sunset Prayer).
However, most Yezidis observe only two of these, the sunrise and
Worshipers should turn their face toward the sun, and for the noon
prayer, they should face toward Laliş. Such prayer should be
accompanied by certain gestures, including kissing the rounded neck
(gerîvan) of the sacred shirt (kiras). The daily prayer services must
not be performed in the presence of outsiders and are always performed
in the direction of the sun. Wednesday is the holy day, but Saturday
is the day of rest.
Calendar and festivals
According to the Yezidi calendar, April 2012 marked the beginning of
their year 6,762 (thereby year 1 would have been in 4,750 BC in the
Yazidi New Year falls in Spring, on the first Wednesday of April
(somewhat later than the Equinox). There is some lamentation by women
in the cemeteries, to the accompaniment of the music of the Qewals,
but the festival is generally characterized by joyous events: the
music of dehol (drum) and zorna (shawm), communal dancing and meals,
the decorating of eggs.
Similarly, the village Tawaf, a festival held in the spring in honour
of the patron of the local shrine, has secular music, dance and meals
in addition to the performance of sacred music. Another important
festival is the Tawûsgeran (circulation of the peacock) where Qewals
and other religious dignitaries visit
Yazidi villages, bringing the
senjaq, sacred images of a peacock made from brass symbolizing
Tawûsê Melek. These are venerated, taxes are collected from the
pious, sermons are preached and holy water distributed.[citation
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in Laliş
The greatest festival of the year for ordinary
Yazidis is the Cejna
Cemaiya "Feast of the Assembly" at Laliş, the annual seven-day
pilgrimage to the tomb of
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir (Şêx Adî) in
Laliş, north of Mosul, Iraq. The festival, which is
celebrated from 23 Aylūl (September) to 1 Tashrīn (October), is an
important time for social contact and affirmation of identity.
Yazidis make at least one pilgrimage to Laliş during
their lifetime, and those living in the region try to attend at least
once a year for the autumn Feast of the Assembly. A sacred microcosm
of the world, as it were, it contains not only many shrines dedicated
to the koasasa, but a number of other landmarks corresponding to other
sites or symbols of significance in other faiths, including Pirra
selat "Serat Bridge" and a mountain called Mt. Arafat. The two sacred
springs are called Zamzam and Kaniya Sipî "The White Spring". During
Yazidis bathe in the river, wash figures of Tawûsê
Melek and light hundreds of lamps in the tombs of Şêx Adî and other
saints. They sacrifice an ox, which is one reason they have been
connected to Mithraism, in addition to the presence of the dog and
serpent in their iconography. The sacrifice of the ox is meant to
declare the arrival of fall and to ask for precipitation during winter
to bring back life to the Earth in the next spring. Moreover, in
astrology, the ox is the symbol of Tashrīn.
The religious centre of the event is the belief in an annual gathering
of the Heptad in the holy place at this time. Rituals practised
include the sacrifice of a bull at the shrine of Şêx Shams and the
practice of sema.
There is also a three-day fast in December.
Purity and taboos
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant
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article by introducing citations to additional sources. (June 2015)
The Chermera, or "40 Men", Temple on the highest peak of the Sinjar
Mountains in northern Iraq. The temple is so old that no one remembers
how it came to have that name, but it is believed to derive from the
burial of 40 men on the mountaintop site.
The Yazidis' concern with religious purity and their reluctance to mix
elements perceived to be incompatible is shown in not only their caste
system but also various taboos affecting everyday life. The purity of
Earth, Air, Fire and Water is protected by a number of taboos, e.g.
against spitting on earth, water or fire. Some discourage spitting or
pouring hot water on the ground because they believe that spirits or
souls that may be present would be harmed or offended by such actions
if they happen to be hit by the discarded liquid.
Too much contact with non-
Yazidis is also considered polluting. In the
Yazidis avoided military service which would have led them to
Muslims and were forbidden to share such items as cups or
razors with outsiders. A resemblance to the external ear may lie
behind the taboo against eating head lettuce, whose name koas
Yazidi pronunciations of koasasa. Additionally, lettuce
Mosul is thought by some
Yazidis to be fertilised with
human waste, which may contribute to the idea that it is unsuitable
for consumption. However, in a BBC interview in April 2010, a senior
Yazidi authority stated that ordinary
Yazidis may eat what they want,
but holy men refrain from certain vegetables (including cabbage)
because "they cause gases".
Children are baptised at birth and circumcision is not required, but
is practised by some due to regional customs. Dead are buried in
conical tombs immediately after death and buried with hands crossed.
Yazidis are predominantly monogamous, but chiefs may be polygamous,
having more than one wife.
Yazidis hold religious beliefs that are mostly unfamiliar to
outsiders, many non-
Yazidi people have written about them and ascribed
to their beliefs facts that have dubious historical validity. The
Yazidis, perhaps because of their secrecy, also have a place in modern
The Theosophical Society, in its electronic version of the
Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary states:
Yezidis (Arabic) [possibly from Persian yazdan god; or the 2nd Umayyad
Caliph, Yazid (r. 680–683); or Persian city Yezd] A sect dwelling
principally in Iraq, Armenia, and the Caucasus, who call themselves
Dasni. Their religious beliefs take on the characteristics of their
surrounding peoples, inasmuch as, openly or publicly, they regard
Mohammed as a prophet, and Jesus Christ as an angel in human form.
Points of resemblance are found with ancient Zoroastrian and Assyrian
religion. The principal feature of their worship, however, is Satan
under the name of Muluk-Taus. However, it is not the Christian Satan,
nor the devil in any form; their Muluk-Taus is the hundred- or
thousand-eyed cosmic wisdom, pictured as a bird (the peacock).
Theosophical Society believes that
Sanat Kumara is the "Lord (or
Ruler) of the World". Just as with
Yazidi beliefs about the
Peacock Angel, outsiders have, at times, viewed the Theosophical
Society as worshiping Satan, due to the similarities between Sanat
Kumara and the Biblical Lucifer and/or Satan. Similarly, the
Theosophist Mark Pinkham explicitly attempts to link the
of the Peacock
Angel to Christ. The Peacock Angel's higher self
was represented by Christ, the historical Jesus being Sananda Kumara,
Sanat Kumara's brother. Pinkham's claim is that Tawûsê Melek and the
Sanat Kumara are more or less the same individual and
that upon the fall of the Peacock Angel, evil entered the world,
causing duality to enter Tawûsê Melek's being. The Angel's fallen
state was represented by his being called
Satan and his outcast
nature. However, Pinkham states that that the
Angel will eventually
succeed in redeeming himself, thereby symbolically returning as
Christ. The redemption of the Peacock
Angel therefore serves as the
redemption of the entire world and the ushering in of the eternal
kingdom of God. Pinkham claims that for this reason, the Yazidis
refuse to refer to Tawûsê Melek as Satan, as this would introduce
time and duality into his being, and mean they must acknowledge
Tawûsê Melek's eventual and predestined redemption, wherein he
merges with Christ (his higher self).
The distinction between the Theosophical belief and the classic Yazidi
belief, is that the office of “Lord of the World,” is merely an
initiation taken by an individual soul. Every individual who takes the
ninth initiation also rules the world, and will in some sense
experience a fall or incarnation, a la Tawûsê Melek or Satan. The
ninth initiation, in Theosophy, is the last initiation available on
Earth and there is only one individual on Earth on the ninth
initiation at a time.
The Theosophical schema does not include the existence of higher
initiations that exist above the ninth one. The only “thing” above
the “Lord of the World” is the “Trinity of the Logos,” a
divine and limitless entity that resides inside the sun. However,
the Earthly representative of the Logos, is the “Ruler of the
World,” which would square with the
Yazidi claim that Tawûsê Melek
is an emanation of God, but not
God himself. A sect of the Ahl-i Haqq,
who tend to deify ‘Ali, believe that Tawûsê Melek is merely an
incarnation of ‘Ali and serves as his representative on
Earth.:31 Furthmore, the
Alawites tend to associate ‘Ali with
In Western literature
Image from A journey from London to Persepolis, 1865
In William Seabrook's book Adventures in Arabia, the fourth section,
starting with Chapter 14, is devoted to the "Yezidees" and is titled
"Among the Yezidees". He describes them as "a mysterious sect
scattered throughout the Orient, strongest in North Arabia, feared and
hated both by Moslem and Christian, because they are worshippers of
Satan." In the three chapters of the book, he completely describes the
area, including the fact that this territory, including their holiest
city of Sheik-Adi, was not part of "Irak".
George Gurdjieff wrote about his encounters with the
times in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men, mentioning that they
are considered to be "devil worshippers" by other ethnicities in the
region. Also, in Peter Ouspensky's book "In Search of the Miraculous",
he describes some strange customs that Gurdjieff observed in Yezidi
boys: "He told me, among other things, that when he was a child he had
often observed how Yezidi boys were unable to step out of a circle
traced round them on the ground" (p. 36)
Idries Shah, writing under the pen-name Arkon Daraul, in the 1961 book
Secret Societies Yesterday and Today, describes discovering a
Yazidi-influenced secret society in the London suburbs called the
"Order of the Peacock Angel." Shah claimed Tawûsê Melek could be
understood, from the
Sufi viewpoint, as an allegory of the higher
powers in humanity.
In H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Horror at Red Hook", some of the
murderous foreigners are identified as belonging to "the Yezidi clan
In Patrick O'Brian's
Aubrey-Maturin series novel The Letter of Marque,
set during the Napoleonic wars, there is a
Yazidi character named Adi.
His ethnicity is referred to as "Dasni".
Yazidi character of note is the super-powered police
officer King Peacock of the Top 10 series (and related comics).
He is portrayed as a kind, peaceful character with a broad knowledge
of religion and mythology. He is depicted as conservative, ethical,
and highly principled in family life. An incredibly powerful martial
artist, he is able to perceive and strike at his opponent's weakest
spots, a power that he claims is derived from communicating with Malek
Yazidis play a significant role in the thriller Genesis Secret, by
Tom Knox, which was an international best-seller in 2006, published in
23 languages. In the book, the
Yazidis are portrayed as ancient
guardians of the megalithic site, Gobekli Tepe, in Kurdish
In US Army memoirs
In her memoir of her service with an intelligence unit of the US
Army's 101st Airborne Division in
Iraq during 2003 and 2004, Kayla
Williams (2005) records being stationed in northern
Iraq near the
Syrian border in an area inhabited by "Yezidis". According to
Williams, some Yezidis were Kurdish-speaking but did not consider
Kurds and expressed to her a fondness for America and
Israel. She was able to learn only a little about the nature of their
religion: she thought it very ancient, and concerned with angels. She
describes a mountain-top Yezidi shrine as "a small rock building with
objects dangling from the ceiling" and alcoves for the placement of
offerings. She reported that local
Muslims considered the Yezidis to
be devil worshippers.
In an October 2006 article in The New Republic, Lawrence F. Kaplan
echoes Williams's sentiments about the enthusiasm of the
the American occupation of Iraq, in part because the Americans protect
them from oppression by militant
Muslims and the nearby Kurds. Kaplan
notes that the peace and calm of
Sinjar is virtually unique in Iraq:
"Parents and children line the streets when U.S. patrols pass by,
Yazidi clerics pray for the welfare of U.S. forces."
Tony Lagouranis comments on a
Yazidi prisoner in his book Fear Up
Harsh: An Army Interrogator's Dark Journey through Iraq:
There's a lot of mystery surrounding the Yazidi, and a lot of
contradictory information. But I was drawn to this aspect of their
Yazidi don't have a Satan. Malak Ta'us, an archangel, God's
favorite, was not thrown out of heaven the way
Satan was. Instead, he
descended, saw the suffering and pain of the world, and cried. His
tears, thousands of years' worth, fell on the fires of hell,
extinguishing them. If there is evil in the world, it does not come
from a fallen angel or from the fires of hell. The evil in this world
is man-made. Nevertheless, humans can, like Malak Ta'us, live in this
world but still be good.
Persecution of Yazidis
The belief of some followers of other monotheistic religions of the
region that the Peacock
Angel equates with their own unredeemed evil
spirit Satan,:29 has incited centuries of persecution of the
Yazidis as "devil worshippers".
Under the Ottoman Empire
Yazidi community existed in Syria, but they declined due to
persecution by the Ottoman Empire. Several punitive
expeditions were organized against the
Yazidis by the Ottoman
governors (Wāli) of Diyarbakir,
Mosul and Baghdad. The objective of
these persecutions was the forced conversion of
Yazidis to the Sunni
Islam of the Ottoman Empire.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
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In post-invasion Iraq
On 7 April 2007 a crowd of up to 2,000
Yazidi stoned a 17-year-old
Iraqi of the
Yazidi faith Du'a Khalil Aswad to death.
Rumours that the stoning was connected to her alleged conversion to
Islam prompted reprisals against
Yazidis by Sunnis, including the 2007
Mosul massacre. In August 2007, some 500
Yazidis were killed in a
coordinated series of bombings in Qahtaniya that became the deadliest
suicide attack since the
Iraq War began. In August 2009, at least 20
people were killed and 30 wounded in a double suicide bombing in
northern Iraq, an
Iraqi Interior Ministry
Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. Two suicide
bombers with explosive vests carried out the attack at a cafe in
Sinjar, west of Mosul. In Sinjar, many townspeople are members of the
By the Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Sinjar massacre and Genocide of
Yazidis by ISIL
In 2014, with the territorial gains of the Salafist militant group
calling itself the Islamic State of
Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) there
was much upheaval in the Iraqi
Yazidi population. ISIL captured Sinjar
in August 2014 following the withdrawal of
Peshmerga troops of Masoud
Barzani, forcing up to 50,000
Yazidis to flee into the nearby
mountainous region. In early August the town of
Sinjar was nearly
deserted as Kurdish
Peshmerga forces were no longer able to keep ISIL
forces from advancing. ISIL had previously declared the
Yazidis to be
devil worshippers and had taken the two nearby small oil fields and
the town of Zumar as part of a plan to try to seize Mosul's
hydroelectric dam. Up to 200,000 people (including an estimated
40,000 Yazidi) fled the city before it was captured by ISIL
forces, giving rise to fears of a humanitarian tragedy. Alongside
Yazidis (and Shiites) who fled
to the city a month earlier when ISIL captured the town of Tal
Most of the population fleeing
Sinjar retreated by trekking up nearby
mountains with the ultimate goal of reaching
Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan
(normally a five-hour drive by car). Concerns for the elderly and
those of fragile health were expressed by the refugees, who told
reporters of their lack of water. Reports coming from
that sick or elderly
Yazidi who could not make the trek were being
executed by ISIL.
Yazidi parliamentarian Haji Ghandour told reporters
that "In our history, we have suffered 72 massacres. We are worried
Sinjar could be a 73rd." UN groups say at least 40,000 members of
Yazidi sect, many of them women and children, had taken refuge in
nine locations on Mount Sinjar, a craggy, 1,400 m (4,600 ft)
high ridge identified in local legend as the final resting place of
Noah's ark, facing slaughter at the hands of jihadists surrounding
them below if they fled or death by dehydration if they stayed.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 Yazidis, most of them women and children,
besieged by ISIL, escaped from the mountain after the People's
Protection Units (YPG) and
Kurdistan Workers' Party
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) intervened
to stop ISIL and opened a humanitarian corridor for them, helping
them cross the
Tigris into Rojava. Some
Yazidis minority were
later escorted back to
Iraqi Kurdistan by
Kurdish officials have said.
Their plight received international media coverage, which led
United States President Barack Obama to authorise humanitarian
airdrops of meals and water to thousands of
Yazidi and Christian
religious minorities trapped on
Sinjar mountain. President Obama also
authorised "targeted airstrikes" against Islamic militants in support
of the beleaguered religious minority, and to protect American
military personnel in northwest Iraq. American humanitarian
assistance began on 7 August 2014, with the UK Royal Air Force
subsequently contributing to the relief effort. At an emergency
meeting in London, Australian prime minister
Tony Abbott also pledged
humanitarian support, while European nations resolved to join the
US in helping to arm
Peshmerga fighters aiding the
Yazidis with more
Yazidi boy in Iraqi Kurdistan, August 2014
YPG fighters with Peshmergas and support of the US
airstrikes helped the rest of the trapped
Yazidis to escape from the
mountain. One relief worker in the evacuation operation
described the conditions on Mount
Sinjar as "a genocide", having
witnessed hundreds of corpses.
Yazidi girls in
raped by ISIL fighters have committed suicide by jumping to their
death from Mount Sinjar, as described in a witness statement. In
Sinjar, ISIL destroyed a
Shiite shrine and demanded that the remaining
population convert to their version of Islam, pay jizya (a religious
tax) or be executed.
Captured women are treated as sex slaves or spoils of war, some are
driven to suicide. Women and girls who convert to
Islam are sold as
brides, those who refuse to convert are tortured, raped and eventually
murdered. Babies born in the prison where the women are held are taken
from their mothers to an unknown fate. Nadia Murad, a Yazidi
human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee was kidnapped and
used as a sex slave by the ISIL in 2014.
Haleh Esfandiari from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars has highlighted the abuse of local women by ISIL militants
after they have captured an area. "They usually take the older women
to a makeshift slave market and try to sell them. The younger girls
... are raped or married off to fighters", she said, adding, "It's
based on temporary marriages, and once these fighters have had sex
with these young girls, they just pass them on to other
fighters." Speaking of
Yazidi women captured by ISIL, Nazand
Begikhani said "[t]hese women have been treated like cattle... They
have been subjected to physical and sexual violence, including
systematic rape and sex slavery. They've been exposed in markets in
Mosul and in Raqqa, Syria, carrying price tags." Dr. Widad Akrawi
said that ISIL uses slavery and rape as weapons of war.
Defend International provided humanitarian aid to
Yazidi refugees in
Iraqi Kurdistan in December 2014.
In September 2014,
Defend International launched a worldwide campaign
entitled "Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now" to raise
awareness about the tragedy of the
Sinjar and to
co-ordinate activities related to intensifying efforts aimed at
Yazidi and Christian women and girls captured by ISIL.
In October 2014 the
United Nations reported that more than 5,000
Yazidis had been murdered and 5,000 to 7,000 (mostly women and
children) had been abducted by the ISIL. In the same month,
Defend International dedicated her 2014 International
Pfeffer Peace Award to the Yazidis. She
asked the international community to make sure that the victims are
not forgotten; they should be rescued, protected, fully assisted and
ISIS has, in their digital magazine Dabiq, explicitly claimed
religious justification for enslaving Yazidi
women. According to The Wall Street Journal,
ISIL appeals to apocalyptic beliefs and claims "justification by a
Hadith that they interpret as portraying the revival of slavery as a
precursor to the end of the world". In December 2014, Amnesty
International published a report. Despite the oppression
Yazidis' women have sustained, they have appeared on the news as
examples of retaliation. They have received training and taken
positions at the frontlines of the fighting, making up about a third
of the Kurd–
Yazidi coalition forces, and have distinguished
themselves as warriors.
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General". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 20 August 2010. There are
probably some 200,000–300,000
^ "Yezidi". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31. Cites estimates
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aina.org, 25 September 2005.
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^ Andrea Glioti (18 October 2013). "
Yazidis Benefit From Kurdish Gains
in Northeast Syria". al-monitor. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
^ Всероссийская перепись населения 2010
г. Национальный состав населения
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^ "2011 Armenian census" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ Husseini, Rana (2012). "Chapter 15. The Historical and Religious
Seeds of 'Honor'". In Clark, Kelly James. Abraham's Children: Liberty
and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict. New Haven: Yale
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^ "What language do the
Yazidis speak?" (in Russian). Cognitive
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^ "YAZIDIS i. GENERAL – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
Yazidi - definition of
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^ Allison, Christine (2001). The Yezidi Oral Tradition in Iraqi
Kurdistan. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780700713974.
^ Spät, Eszter (1985). The Yezidis. Saqi.
^ Russell, Jesse; Cohn, Ronald (2012). Yazidi. Book on Demand.
^ a b c Attewill, Fred (15 August 2007). "Background: the Yezidi". The
^ a b Eckardt, Frank; Eade, John (2011-01-01). The Ethnically Diverse
City. BWV Verlag. p. 73. ISBN 978-3-8305-1641-5.
^ Philip G. Kreyenbroek. "Yezidism in Europe". Retrieved
^ Palmer, Michael D.; Burgess, Stanley M. (2012-03-12). The
Wiley-Blackwell Companion to
Religion and Social Justice. John Wiley
& Sons. p. 405. ISBN 978-1-4443-5536-9. Retrieved 25
^ a b Darke, Diana; Leutheuser, Robert (8 August 2014). "Who, What,
Why: Who are the Yazidis?". Magazine Monitor, BBC News.
^ a b c d e f Açikyildiz, Birgül (2014). The Yezidis: The History of
a Community, Culture and Religion. London: I.B. Tauris & Company.
ISBN 978-1-784-53216-1. OCLC 888467694.
^ "Marriage and family - Yezidis". www.everyculture.com. Retrieved
^ Gidda, Mirren. "Everything You Need to Know About the Yazidis".
TIME.com. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
^ a b Gezer, Özlem (23 October 2014). "From
Germany to Iraq: One
Yazidi Family's War on Islamic State". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 24 June
United Nations High Commissioner for. "UNHCR's Eligibility
Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Iraqi
Asylum-seekers". Refworld. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (April 2009). "Page
173: It further said that it had received reports that members of
minority groups were allegedly forced to identify themselves as
Kurdish or Arab in order to obtain access to education or health
services.". UNHCR Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the
International Protection Needs of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers. Geneva: United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
^ Smith, Crispin M.I.; Shadarevian, Vartan (May 2017).
"Ethno-Religious Groups". Wilting in the Kurdish Sun: The Hopes and
Fears of Religious Minorities in Northern
Iraq (PDF). Washington,
D.C.: United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
pp. 20–24. Page 20: Kurdish officials frequently put pressure
on Yezidis to identify as Kurds. For some Yezidis this is an affront
that they believe threatens the existence of the Yezidi people.
Regardless, rights should not be attached to ethnic identity or
^ a b *The
Religion of the Yezidis: Religious Texts of the Yezidis:
Translation, Introd. and Notes, by Giuseppe Furlani, J.M. Unvala, 1940
– "The religion of the Yezidis is monotheistic" p. 3
^ Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania, by Barbara A. West,
Infobase Publishing, January 1, 2009 – "... the ancient Yezidi
religion (monotheist with elements of nature worship) ..."
^ Religious Freedom in the World, by Paul A. Marshall, Rowman &
Littlefield, 2000 – "The Ezidi ('Yezidi') religion, a monotheistic
faith ..." p. 212
^ Empson, R.H.W. (1928). The Cult of the Peacock Angel. London: H.F.
& G. Witherby. p. 184. In connection with the Yezidi beliefs
in Shaitan, Melak Ta'us and Hell, there is a consideration which may
be of great important in the inquiry into the memories conveyed in the
term Melak Ta'us. In modern Yezidi belief there is no Hell, as it was
extinguished by the weeping of a diseased child, who cried into a
yellow (asfar) jar for seven years, and this was emptied over the fire
Hell and extinguished them. This child is variously named Abrik
Shautha and Ibrik al-Asfar (the Yellow). A variant of the legend says
it was the weeping of
Shaitan during his seven thousand years of exile
Hell that extinguished the fires. With reference to these legends
it has been suggested that Melak Ta'us is a memory of Ta'uz, said to
be a form of the very ancient Babylonian hero-god Tammuz, and it is to
be remembered that weeping for the terrible legendary sufferings in
the seven forms of death to which he was subjected is a prominent
feature in the ceremonies once celebrated in connection with
^ Asatrian and Arakelova 2014, 26–29
^ a b c van Bruinessen, Martin (1992). "Chapter 2: Kurdish society,
ethnicity, nationalism and refugee problems". In Kreyenbroek, Philip
G.; Sperl, Stefan. The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview. London:
Routledge. pp. 26–52. ISBN 978-0-415-07265-6.
OCLC 919303390. The Peacock
Angel (Malak Tawus) whom they worship
may be identified with Satan, but is to them not the lord of Evil as
he is to
Muslims and Christians
^ a b Li, Shirley (8 August 2014). "A Very Brief History of the Yazidi
and What They're Up Against in Iraq". The Atlantic.
^ a b Jalabi, Raya (11 August 2014). "Who are the
Yazidis and why is
Isis hunting them?". The Guardian.
^ a b Thomas, Sean (19 August 2007). "The Devil worshippers of Iraq".
The Daily Telegraph.
^ a b "Who Are the Yazidi, and Why Is ISIS Targeting Them?". NBC News.
8 August 2014.
^ "Question of the Frontier Between
Turkey and Iraq" (PDF). Geneva:
League of Nations. 20 August 1925. p. 49. they are ... are almost
the only settled population in the Western desert.
^ "On Vulnerable Ground". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved
^ Ghanim, David (2011-09-30). Iraq's Dysfunctional Democracy.
ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-39801-8.
^ Ghanim, David. Iraq's Dysfunctional Democracy. p. 34.
^ "لقاء الامير تحسين بك على قناة
العربية" (Video). Al Arabiya. 17 October 2014.
^ Foltz, Richard (2013). Religions of Iran: From Prehistory to the
Present. London, England: Oneworld. ISBN 978-1-780-74307-3.
^ a b
Yazidis i. General, iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
^ Brennan, Shane; Herzog, Marc. "
Turkey and the Politics of National
Identity: Social, Economic and Cultural Transformation". New York:
I.B.Tauris, 2014. ISBN 978-1-78076-539-6.
United Nations High Commissioner for. "UNHCR's Eligibility
Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Iraqi
Asylum-seekers". Refworld: 76–82. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
^ "YAZIDIS". 20 December 2015.
^ Federal Research Division. Syria. "Chapter 5: Religious Life".
Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
^ Commins, David Dean (2004). Historical Dictionary of Syria.
Scarecrow Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-8108-4934-8. Retrieved 20
^ a b "
Yazidi temple, third in the world, opened in Tbilisi". DFWatch.
2015-06-19. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
^ "2011 Armenian census" (PDF). National Statistical Service. 2011.
Retrieved 6 July 2017.
^ "De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity" (PDF).
National Statistical Service. 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
^ "The Role of the Father – Honor Killing Verdict Has Prosecutors
Wanting More (English)". Der Spiegel. 2012-05-24. Retrieved
^ Betts, Robert Brenton (2013). The Sunni-Shi'a Divide: Islam's
Internal Divisions and Their Global Consequences.
^ "UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International
Needs of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers" (PDF). p. 11.
^ Stafford, R.S. The Tragedy of the Assyrians. p. 15.
^ Smith, Andrew Phillip. The Gnostics: History * Tradition *
Scriptures * Influence.
^ Concise encyclopedia of the Middle East. 1973. p. 325.
^ Dalyan, Dogan, Murat Gokhan, Cabir. "An Overview of 19th Century
Yezidi Women" (Who Are the Yezidis?): 114.
^ A History of the Arab Peoples: Updated Edition. 2013.
^ O'Leary, Carole A. "The
Kurds of Iraq: Recent History, Future
Prospects" (PDF). Retrieved 3 July 2015.
Armenia Country Study Guide Volume 1 Strategic Information and
^ Levinson, David (1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference
Handbook. p. 203.
^ Serinci, Deniz (28 May 2014). "The Yezidis of
Armenia Face Identity
Crisis over Kurdish Ethnicity". Rudaw Media Network.
^ Green, Emma (13 August 2014). "The Yazidis, a People Who Fled". The
Armenia tried to establish themselves
as an independent, non-Kurdish ethnic group for political
United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld UNHCR's
Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection
Needs of Iraqi Asylum-seekers". Refworld. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
^ a b c d "Encyclopaedia Iranica: Yazidis". Iranicaonline.org.
^ P.G. Kreyenbroek, "Yazīdī" in Encyclopedia of Islam, s.v.
^ Late Antique Motifs in Yezidi Oral Tradition by Eszter Spät. Ch. 9
"The Origin Myth of the Yezidis" section "The Myth of Shehid Bin Jer"
^ Joseph 1919, pp. 119–21
^ Asher-Schapiro, Avi (11 August 2014). "Who Are the Yazidis, the
Ancient, Persecuted Religious Minority Struggling to Survive in
Iraq?". National Geographic.
^ a b c d Kjeilen, Tore. "Yazidism". Encyclopaedia. LookLex. Retrieved
2008-03-31. Malak Taus filled 7 jars of tears through 7,000 years. His
tears were used to extinguish the fire in hell. Therefore, there is no
hell in Yazidism.
^ a b Allison C 1998 The Evolution of
Religion From Spoken Word
to Written Scripture. ISIM Newsletter.
^ a b c d Asatryan, Garnik S.; Arakelova, Victoria (2014). The
Religion of the Peacock Angel: The Yezidis and Their Spirit World.
London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
ISBN 978-1-317-54429-6. OCLC 890090566. p. 3: A careful
analysis of the Yezidi triad will show its component deities to be
unambiguous manifestations of the one god worshipped by adherents. …
The Yezidi triad comprises the following: Malak-Tawus, the
Angel (in the Yezidi imagination being featured as a bird, a
peacock or a cock, and sometimes even a dove);
Sheikh ‘Adi (Seyx
Sheikh ‘Adi bin Musafir, a historical personality, the
founder of the proto-Yezidi community, as an old man); and Sultan
Yezid (Silt’an Ezid, as a youth). All three characters are
manifestations of god – xwade (or xwadi, xuda, the term deriving
from the New Pers. xuday). pp. 21-22: A little star fell from heaven,
said an ancient Yezidi legend, and hid in the depth of the then still
dark earth. … That beam, that particle of endless light, was the
great and glorious Melak-Tauz [sic!]; … he believed and hoped that a
spark of the better light that had been brought by him would not be
extinguished even among cruel and corrupt people, and the bright hope
did not deceive Melak-Tauz. There came about kind people, pure in
heart, who had preserved the unextinguished spark of endless light
falling on earth as a bright start of heaven; they recognized and
welcomed Melak-Tauz, … Those people were the Yezidis; until now they
go after Melak-Tauz, hated and cursed by the whole world. p. 31:
Malak-Tawusis believe that ‘Ali had existed before the Creation as
Perfect (Absolute) Light (nur-e mutlaq). Four servitor Angels were
created from ‘Ali's pure essence … Israil from his tongue, and
Malak-Amin (i.e. Malak-Tawus) as the reincarnation of ‘Ali (dun-e
‘Ali). p. 33: This verse is interesting because it features the
concept of the Yezidis having originated from
Adam directly, rather
from his union with Eve, as is the case with all the rest of
^ "The Cult of Angels". Kurdistanica. July 17, 2008. The Cult believes
in a boundless, all encompassing, yet fully detached "Universal
Spirit" (Haq), whose only involvement in the material world has been
his primeval manifestation as a supreme avatar who after coming into
being himself, created the material universe. (Haq, incidentally, is
not derived from the
Arabic homophone haqq, meaning "truth," as
commonly and erroneously believed.) The Spirit has stayed out of the
affairs of the material world except to contain and bind it together
within his essence. The prime avatar who became the Creator is
identified as the Lord
God in all branches of the Cult except
Yezidism, as discussed below.
^ "Yezidi Reformer:
Sheikh Adi". The Truth about the Yezidis.
YezidiTruth.org, A Humanitarian Organization, Sedona, Arizona.
Archived from the original on 20 March 2008.
^ a b c d e "Yezidi Religious Tradition". YezidiTruth.org.
^ Allison, Christine (2001). The
Yazidi Oral Tradition in Iraq.
Psychology Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-7007-1397-2. Retrieved 20
^ "Assyrian International Newsagency (AINA), ''Iraqi
Yazidi MP: We Are
Being Butchered Under the Banner of 'There is No
God But Allah'".
AINA. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
^ Salih, "Islamic Extremists Pose New Risks for Religious Minorities
in Iraq", New York Times, 24 June 2014.
^ MacFarquhar, Neill (2003-01-03). "Bashiqa Journal: A Sect Shuns
Lettuce and Gives the Devil His Due". The New York Times. Retrieved
Yazidis pray three times a day, at dawn, midday and
sunset, facing the direction of the sun each time. 'The sun is very
holy to us,' said Walid Abu Khudur, the stocky, bearded guardian of
the temple built in honor of a holy man here. 'It is like the eye of
God, so we pray toward it.'... They have adopted Christian rituals
like baptism and a smattering of practices from
Islam ranging from
circumcision to removal of their shoes inside their temples. The
importance of fire as a divine manifestation comes from
Zoroastrianism, the ancient Iranian faith that forms the core of
Yazidi beliefs. Indeed their very name is likely taken from an old
Persian word for angel.
Yazidis celebrate New Year in Iraq,
Al Jazeera (YouTube), 28 April
2012. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
^ Hedges, Chris (31 May 1993). "Sheik Adi Journal; Satan's Alive and
Well, but the Sect May Be Dying". The New York Times. The Yazidis, who
are part of Iraq's
Yazidi minority, had 100 of 150 villages demolished
during the counterinsurgency operation against the Kurdish rebel
movement that reached its peak in 1988. The campaign, which moved
hundreds of thousands of people to collective villages, saw 4,000
Yazidi villages dynamited into rubble. ... The sect follows the
teachings of Sheik Adi, a holy man who died in 1162, and whose crypt
lies in the shrine in the
Lalish Valley, about 15 miles [24 km]
east of Mosul. The shrine's graceful, fluted spires poke above the
trees and dominate the fertile valley. ... Like Zoroastrians they
venerate fire, the sun and the mulberry tree. They believe in the
transmigration of souls, often into animals. The sect does not accept
converts and banishes anyone who marries outside the faith. Yazidis
are forbidden to disclose most of their rituals and beliefs to
^ Allison, Christine. YAZIDIS.
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Retrieved 11 June 2015.
^ Lair, Patrick (19 January 2008). "Conversation with a
eKurd Daily. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved
24 June 2015.
^ "Richness of Iraq's minority religions revealed", BBC. Retrieved 3
^ Page 363
^ "Yezidis". Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary. Theosophical
University Press. 1999.
^ Leadbeater, C.W. The Masters and the Path. Adyar, India:
Theosophical Publishing House, 1925 (Reprint: Kessinger Publishing,
1997) Pages 296–299
^ "The Eternal Youth: Thoughts on Sanat Kumara". Aleph's Heretical
Domain. April 21, 2014. Some people, mostly Christians, equate Sanat
Kumara with Lucifer/Satan, perhaps due to the fact that in
Sanat Kumara arrived to Earth from Venus, just as
Lucifer was associated with the morning star (Venus), as well as Sanat
Kumara being referred to as King of the World or Lord of the
^ Pinkham, Mark Amaru (2002). The Truth Behind the Christ Myth: The
Redemption of the Peacock Angel. Adventures Unlimited Press.
^ Leadbeater, C.W. (2007). The Masters and the Path. Cosimo,
^ Blavatsky, H. P. (1968 ). The Key to Theosophy. London:
Theosophical Publishing House.
^ Procházka, Stephan (September 2015). "The Alawis". Oxford Research
Encyclopedias. The deity is comparable to the sun in that He radiates
light and heat forever.
^ Christensen-Ernst, Jørgen (2012). Antioch on the Orontes. Hamilton
Books. p. 146. They expect to regain their former status, making
themselves deserving this by living as good Nusayris during
consecutive rebirths, eventually ending up as stars or perfect souls
in heaven. Ali himself is the sun.
^ Lyde, Samuel (1860). The Asian Mystery. p. 138. From this
reverence for light, since the sun is the light of lights, Ali is
supposed to reside in the sun and in the eyes of the sun, from which
he is said to appear; and when they pray, according to the Ansairee
catechism, they turn their faces toward the sun.
^ Seabrook, W.B., Adventures in Arabia, Harcourt, Brace, and Company
^ Shah, Idries (1964). The Sufis. Anchor Doubleday. pp. 437–38.
^ Lovecraft, H.P., The Complete Fiction, Barnes & Noble, 2008;
Moore, Alan and Ha, Gene (1999–2000) Top Ten issues 1–12,
^ Kaplan, Lawrence F. (2007-10-31). "
Sinjar Diarist: Devil's
Advocates". The New Republic. 235 (4790): 34.
^ Lagouranis, Tony (2007). Fear Up Harsh: An Army Interrogator's Dark
Journey through Iraq. New American Library. p. 128.
^ Commins, David Dean. Historical Dictionary of Syria. Scarecrow
Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-8108-4934-8.
^ Ghareeb, Edmund A. (2004). Historical Dictionary of Iraq. Scarecrow
Press. p. 248. ISBN 0-8108-4330-7.
^ Hastings, James (2003).
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^ "Video Captures Stoning of Kurdish Teenage Girl". 2007-04-25.
^ Lattimer, Mark (13 December 2007). "Freedom lost". The
^ "At least 20 killed in
Iraq blast". CNN.com International. 13 August
2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
^ "Isil militants execute dozens from
Yazidi minority". Gulf News.
2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
^ a b c d Morris, Loveday (3 August 2014). "Families flee as Islamic
State extremists seize another Iraqi town, pushing back the Kurds".
The Washington Post.
^ Bram Janssen & Sameer N. Yacoub (4 August 2014). "
Iraq Air Force
Kurds Fighting Islamists". Associated Press. Retrieved 3 July
^ Chulov, Martin (6 August 2014). "40,000
Iraqis stranded on mountain
as Isis jihadists threaten death". The Guardian.
Yazidis from Iraqi mountain". Al Jazeera. 10 August
2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
^ a b "Thousands of
Yazidis 'still trapped' on
Iraq mountain". BBC
News. 12 August 2014.
^ Siddique, Haroon (10 August 2014). "20,000
Iraqis besieged by ISIL
escape from mountain after US air strikes". The Guardian.
^ a b Hadid, Diaa; Mroue, Bassem (12 August 2014). "Syrian Kurdish
Fighters Rescue Stranded Yazidis". Associated Press. In a dusty camp
Iraqi refugees have new heroes: Syrian Kurdish fighters who
battled militants to carve out an escape route for tens of thousands
trapped on a mountaintop. While the U.S. and Iraqi militaries struggle
to aid the starving members of Iraq's
Yazidi minority with supply
drops from the air, the Syrian
Kurds took it on themselves to rescue
them. The move underlined how they—like Iraqi Kurds—are using the
region's conflicts to establish their own rule. For the past few days,
fighters have been rescuing
Yazidis from the mountain, transporting
them into Syrian territory to give them first aid, food and water, and
returning some to
Iraq via a pontoon bridge. [...] The U.N. estimated
Yazidis fled to the mountain. But by Sunday, Kurdish
officials said at least 45,000 had crossed through the safe passage,
leaving thousands more behind and suggesting the number of stranded
^ "Iraqi Yazidis: 'If we move they will kill us'". Al Jazeera. 5
August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
^ Obama, Barack (7 August 2014). "Statement by the President".
^ Cooper, Helene; Landler, Mark; Rubin, Alissa J. (7 August 2014).
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^ "Obama authorises
Iraq air strikes on Islamist fighters". BBC World
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^ "Britain's RAF makes second aid drop to Mount
by Isis – video". The Guardian. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August
Tony Abbott says Australia's role in
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action". ABC News. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
^ "Europe pledges aid, equipment to Iraq". ABC News. 12 August 2014.
Retrieved 12 August 2014.
^ "A U.S.-designated terrorist group is saving
Yazidis and battling
the Islamic State". Retrieved 16 January 2016.
^ "The Drama of Sinjar: Escaping the Islamic State in Iraq". Spiegel
Online. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
^ Ahmed, Havidar (14 August 2014). "The Yezidi Exodus, Girls Raped by
ISIS Jump to their Death on Mount Shingal". Rudaw Media Network.
Retrieved 26 August 2014.
^ "Islamic State crisis:
Yazidi anger at Iraq's forgotten people". BBC
News. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
^ "IS in Iraq:
Yazidi women raped, murdered and sold as brides -
Christian News on Christian Today". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
^ Alter, Charlotte (20 Dec 2015). "A Yezidi Woman Who Escaped ISIS
Slavery Tells Her Story". Time Magazine. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
^ Brekke, Kira (8 September 2014). "ISIS Is Attacking Women, And
Nobody Is Talking About It". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11
^ Ivan Watson, "'Treated like cattle':
Yazidi women sold, raped,
enslaved by ISIS", CNN, 30 October 2014.
Widad Akrawi Interviewed at RojNews: How should the
international community classify the systematic massacre of the Yezidi
Sinjar by IS jihadists that included taking Yezidi girls
as sex slaves". Archived from the original on 28 October 2015.
^ a b "Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now". Retrieved
^ Steve Hopkins, "Full horror of the
Yazidis who didn't escape Mount
Sinjar: UN confirms 5,000 men were executed and 7,000 women are now
kept as sex slaves," Daily Mail, 14 October 2014
^ Richard Spencer, "Isil carried out massacres and mass sexual
enslavement of Yazidis, UN confirms", The Daily Telegraph, 14 October
Widad Akrawi awarded International Pfeffer Peace Prize".
Retrieved 20 October 2014.
^ "Dr Akrawi Dedicated Peace Award to Yezidis, Christians and Kobane".
Retrieved 24 September 2015.
Widad Akrawi Barış ödülünü Kobanê ve Şengal'e adadı"
(in Turkish). Archived from the original on 11 November 2014.
Retrieved 20 October 2014.
^ "Peace award dedicated to Kobanî and Şengal". Retrieved 20 October
Widad Akrawi Xelata Aştiyê pêşkêşî Kobanê û Şengalê
hat kirin" (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 20 October
2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
^ "Xelata Aştiyê diyarî Kobanê hat kirin" (in Turkish). Archived
from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
^ Reuters, "Islamic State Seeks to Justify Enslaving
Yazidi Women and
Girls in Iraq", Newsweek, 13 October 2014.
^ Athena Yenko, "Judgment Day Justifies Sex Slavery Of Women – ISIS
Out With Its 4th Edition Of Dabiq Magazine," International Business
Times-Australia, 13 October 2014.
^ Allen McDuffee, "ISIS Is Now Bragging About Enslaving Women and
Children," The Atlantic, 13 October 2014.
^ Salma Abdelaziz, "ISIS states its justification for the enslavement
of women", CNN, 13 October 2014.
^ Richard Spencer, "Thousands of
Yazidi women sold as sex slaves 'for
theological reasons', says ISIS", The Daily Telegraph, 13 October
^ Nour Malas, "Ancient Prophecies Motivate Islamic State Militants:
Battlefield Strategies Driven by 1,400-year-old Apocalyptic Ideas",
The Wall Street Journal, 18 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
^ "Islamic State:
Yazidi women tell of sex-slavery trauma". BBC News.
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^ Barbarani, Sofia (September 2, 2014). "'Islamic State tore our
families apart. Now we're fighting back'. Meet the Kurdish women's
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yazidism.
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Les Ezidis de France
Yazda – A Global
Yezidi Web (via the Wayback Machine)
"Being Yezidi", on Yezidi identity politics in Armenia, by Onnik
Krikorian, first published by Transitions Online (2004).
The Beginning of the Universe, photos and a description of Yezidi life
in Lalish, Iraq, by
Michael J. Totten
Michael J. Totten (22 February 2006).
"Armenia: Yezidi Identity Battle" by Onnik Krikorian, in Yerevan,
Institute for War & Peace Reporting (2 November 2006).
Rubin, Alissa J. (2007-10-14). "Persecuted Sect in
Iraq Avoids Its
Shrine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
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