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The Yazidis, or Yezidis (/jəˈziːdiːz/ ( listen) yə-ZEE-deez) ( Kurmanji
Kurmanji
Kurdish: Êzidî, IPA: [eːzɪˈdiː]), are a Kurdish religious minority[15][16][17][18][19][20] indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
(known natively as Ezidkhan) who are strictly endogamous.[21] Their religion, Yazidism, is linked to ancient Mesopotamian religions
Mesopotamian religions
and combines aspects of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity
Christianity
and Judaism.[21][22][23][24][25] Yazidis
Yazidis
who marry non- Yazidis
Yazidis
are automatically considered to be converted to the religion of their spouse and therefore are not permitted to call themselves Yazidis.[26][27][28] They live primarily in the Nineveh Province of Iraq. Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Syria
Syria
have been in decline since the 1990s as a result of significant migration to Europe, especially to Germany.[29] According to the UNCHR
UNCHR
reports, it is disputed, even within the community, as well as among Kurds, whether Yazidis
Yazidis
are ethnically Kurds
Kurds
or form a distinct ethnic group.[30][31][32] The Yazidis
Yazidis
are monotheists,[26]:71[33][34][35] believing in God
God
as 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 with God.[36] This belief has been linked by some people to Sufi
Sufi
mystical reflections on Iblis, who also refused to prostrate to Adam, despite God's express command to do so.[37] Because of this similarity to the Sufi
Sufi
tradition of Iblis, some followers of other monotheistic religions of the region identify the Peacock Angel
Angel
with their own unredeemed evil spirit Satan,[38]:29[26] which has incited centuries of persecution of the Yazidis
Yazidis
as "devil worshippers".[39][40] Persecution of Yazidis
Yazidis
has continued in their home communities within the borders of modern Iraq, under fundamentalist Sunni Muslim revolutionaries.[41] Beginning in August 2014, the Yazidis
Yazidis
were targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant in its campaign to rid Iraq
Iraq
and its neighbouring countries of non-Islamic influences.[42]

Contents

1 Demographics

1.1 Iraq 1.2 Syria 1.3 Georgia 1.4 Armenia 1.5 Turkey 1.6 Western Europe

2 Origins 3 Religious beliefs

3.1 Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel 3.2 Descendants of Adam 3.3 Reincarnation 3.4 Yazidi
Yazidi
holy texts

4 Organisation 5 Religious practices

5.1 Prayers 5.2 Calendar and festivals 5.3 Purity and taboos 5.4 Customs

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
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL)

8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Demographics[edit]

Yazidi
Yazidi
leaders and Chaldean clergymen meeting in Mesopotamia, 19th century

Historically, the Yazidis
Yazidis
lived primarily in communities located in present-day Iraq, Turkey
Turkey
and Syria
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.[7] As a result, population estimates are unclear in many regions, and estimates of the size of the total population vary.[1] Iraq[edit] The bulk of the Yazidi
Yazidi
population lives in Iraq, where they make up an important minority community.[1] Estimates of the size of these communities vary significantly, between 70,000 and 500,000. They are particularly concentrated in northern Iraq
Iraq
in the Nineveh Province. The two biggest communities are in Shekhan, northeast of Mosul
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.[43] During the 20th century, the Shekhan community struggled for dominance with the more conservative Sinjar
Sinjar
community.[1] The demographic profile has probably changed considerably since the beginning of the Iraq
Iraq
War in 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein's government.[1] According to the Human Rights Watch, Yazidis
Yazidis
were under the Arabisation
Arabisation
process of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
between 1970 and 2003. In 2009, some Yazidis
Yazidis
who had previously lived under the Arabisation
Arabisation
process of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
complained about the political tactics of the Kurdistan Regional Government that were intended to make Yazidis
Yazidis
identify themselves as Kurds.[44][45] 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 to make Yazidis
Yazidis
identify themselves as Kurds. The HRW report also criticises heavy-handed tactics."[46] While geographically located in Kurdish regions, Yazidi
Yazidi
do not self-identify as Kurdish.[47] There has been a dispute as to whether Yazidi
Yazidi
are Kurdish.[26]:48[48]:219[49] Additionally, the Soviet Union considered the Yazidis
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 containing substantial Yazidi
Yazidi
sections.[50] Modern Yazidi
Yazidi
communities disagree with this classification. According to the UNCHR
UNCHR
reports, it is disputed, even among the community itself as well as among Kurds, whether Yazidis
Yazidis
are ethnically Kurds
Kurds
or form a distinct ethnic group.[51] The Yazidis' cultural practices are observably Kurdish, and almost all speak Kurmanji
Kurmanji
(Northern Kurdish).[52] Syria[edit] Main article: Yazidis
Yazidis
in Syria Yazidis
Yazidis
in Syria
Syria
live primarily in two communities, one in the Al-Jazira area and the other in the Kurd-Dagh.[1] Population numbers for the Syrian Yazidi
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.[53] There may be between about 12,000 and 15,000 Yazidis
Yazidis
in Syria
Syria
today,[1][54] though more than half of the community may have emigrated from Syria
Syria
since the 1980s.[7] Estimates are further complicated by the arrival of as many as 50,000 Yazidi
Yazidi
refugees from Iraq
Iraq
during the Iraq
Iraq
War.[7]

Yazidi
Yazidi
men

Georgia[edit] Main article: Yazidis
Yazidis
in Georgia The Yazidi
Yazidi
population in Georgia has been dwindling since the 1990s, mostly due to economic migration to Russia
Russia
and the West. According to a census carried out in 1989, there were over 30,000 Yazidis
Yazidis
in Georgia; according to the 2002 census, however, only around 18,000 Yazidis
Yazidis
remained in Georgia. However, by other estimates, the community fell from around 30,000 people to fewer than 5,000 during the 1990s.[7] Today they number as little 6,000 by some estimates, including recent refugees from Sinjar
Sinjar
in Iraq, who fled to Georgia following persecution by ISIL.[55] On 16 June 2015, Yazidis
Yazidis
celebrated 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
Iraqi Kurdistan
and Armenia.[55] Armenia[edit] Main article: Yazidis
Yazidis
in Armenia According to the 2011 census, there are 35,272 Yazidis
Yazidis
in Armenia.[56] Ten years earlier, in the 2001 census, 40,620 Yazidis
Yazidis
were registered in Armenia.[57] Media have estimated the number of Yazidis
Yazidis
in Armenia to be between 30,000 and 50,000. Most of them are the descendants of refugees who fled to Armenia
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 Yazidi
Yazidi
villages.[58] Turkey[edit] Main article: Yazidis
Yazidis
in Turkey

Yazidi
Yazidi
men in Mardin, Turkey, late 19th century

The Kurdish Yazidi
Yazidi
community of Turkey
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.[1] Western Europe[edit] Main articles: Yazidis
Yazidis
in Germany, Yazidis
Yazidis
in France, and Yazidis
Yazidis
in Sweden 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
Yazidi
community of more than 100,000 living primarily in Celle, Bremen, Bad Oeynhausen
Bad Oeynhausen
and Oldenburg.[29] Most are from Turkey
Turkey
and, more recently, Iraq
Iraq
and live in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
and Lower Saxony.[1] Since 2008, Sweden
Sweden
has seen sizeable growth in its Yazidi
Yazidi
emigrant community, which had grown to around 4,000 by 2010,[7] and a smaller community exists in the Netherlands.[1] Other Yazidi
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 5,000.[1] Feleknas Uca, a Yazidi
Yazidi
Member of the European Parliament
European Parliament
for Germany's Party of Democratic Socialism, was the world's only Yazidi parliamentarian until the Iraqi legislature was elected in 2005. European Yazidis
Yazidis
have contributed to the academic community, such as Khalil Rashow in Germany
Germany
and Jalile Jalil in Austria.[citation needed] In May 2012, four members of a Yazidi
Yazidi
family living in Detmold, Germany
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.[59] Origins[edit] The Yazidi
Yazidi
people speak Kurmanji
Kurmanji
Kurdish[49] 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.[60] Although the Yazidis
Yazidis
speak 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
Kurds
or form a distinct ethnic group.[61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69] In Armenia, the Yazidis
Yazidis
are recognized as a distinct ethnic group.[70][71][72] 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
Umayyad
Caliph Yazīd ibn Muʿāwiya (Yazid I), who is revered by Yazidis
Yazidis
as Sultan Ezi.[73] Earlier scholars and many Yazidis
Yazidis
derive it from Old Iranian
Old Iranian
yazata, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
yazad 'divine being'.[74]

Yazidi
Yazidi
man in traditional clothes

One of the important figures of Yazidism is 'Adī ibn Musafir, who is said to be of Umayyad
Umayyad
descent. 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 'Adawiyya Sufi
Sufi
order. He died in 1162, and his tomb at Laliş is a focal point of Yazidi
Yazidi
pilgrimage and the principal Yazidi
Yazidi
holy site.[75] Yazidism has many influences: Sufi
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 pre-Islamic ancient Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
religious traditions and Zoroastrianism.[22] 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
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.[1] 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
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 Ibaḍ."[76] Religious beliefs[edit] Main article: Yazdânism Yazidis
Yazidis
are monotheists,[33] believing in one God, who created the world and entrusted it into the care of a Heptad of seven Holy
Holy
Beings, 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) [77] Preeminent among these is Tawûsê Melek (frequently known as "Melek Taus" in English publications), the Peacock Angel.[78][41] Tawûsê Melek is often identified by Muslims
Muslims
with Shaitan
Shaitan
(Satan). 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.[79]

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.[38][26]

The Yazidis
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
Yazidis
themselves, but quite simply wrong."[80] Non- Yazidis
Yazidis
have associated Melek Taus
Melek Taus
with Shaitan (Islamic/Arab name) or Satan, but Yazidis
Yazidis
find that offensive and do not actually mention that name.[80]

Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel[edit] Main article: Melek Taus The Yazidis
Yazidis
believe in a divine triad, like the Alawites.[81]:3 The original god of the Yazidis
Yazidis
is considered to be remote and inactive in relation to his creation.[82] His first emanation is Tawûsê Melek, who functions as the ruler of the world. The second hypostasis of this trinity is Sheikh
Sheikh
Adî. The third is Sultan Ezid. These are the three hypostases of the one God. The identity of these three is sometimes blurred, with Sheikh
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
Yazidi
belief is the similarity between Tawûsê Melek and the Abrahamic Satan
Satan
(the Islamic Iblīs). A popular Yazidi
Yazidi
story narrates the fall of Tawûsê Melek and his subsequent rejection by humanity, with the exception of the Yazidis.[81]:21–22 The Kitêba Cilwe "Book of Illumination", which claims to be the words of Tawûsê Melek, and which presumably represents Yazidi
Yazidi
belief, states that he allocates responsibilities, blessings and misfortunes as he sees fit and that it is not for the race of Adam
Adam
to question him. Sheikh
Sheikh
Adî believed that the spirit of Tawûsê Melek was the same as his own, perhaps as a reincarnation. He is reported to have said:

I was present when Adam
Adam
was living in Paradise, and also when Nemrud threw Abraham
Abraham
in fire. I was present when God
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
Yazidi
accounts of creation differ from that of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They believe that God
God
first created Tawûsê Melek from his own (God's) illumination (Ronahî) and the other six archangels were created later. God
God
ordered Tawûsê Melek not to bow to other beings. Then God
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
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
Adam
is made of dust." Then, God
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 to Adam
Adam
at God's command, though in this case it is seen as being a sign of Shaytan's sinful pride.) Hence, the Yazidis
Yazidis
believe that Tawûsê Melek is the representative of God
God
on the face of the Earth and comes down to the Earth on the first Wednesday of Nisan
Nisan
(April). Yazidis
Yazidis
hold that God
God
created Tawûsê Melek on this day and celebrate it as New Year's Day. Yazidis
Yazidis
argue that the order to bow to Adam
Adam
was only a test for Tawûsê Melek, since if God
God
commands anything then it must happen. (Bibe, dibe). In other words, God
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.[83] Descendants of Adam[edit] One of the key creation beliefs held by Yazidis
Yazidis
is that they are the descendants of Adam
Adam
through his son Shehid bin Jer rather than Eve.[79][not in citation given] The Yazidis
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.[84] This lovely child, known as son of Jar grew up to marry a houri and became the ancestor of the Yazidis. Therefore, the Yazidis
Yazidis
regard themselves as descending from Adam
Adam
alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam
Adam
and Eve.[85][81]:33 This is the reason given for Yazidis
Yazidis
being exclusively endogamous; clans do not intermarry with non- Yazidis
Yazidis
and accept no converts to Yazidism.[citation needed] A severe punishment for breaking this rule is expulsion, which is also effectively excommunication as the soul of the exilee is forfeit.[citation needed] Reincarnation[edit] A belief in the reincarnation of lesser Yazidi
Yazidi
souls also exists. Like the Ahl-e Haqq, the Yazidis
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 Yazidi
Yazidi
community; this is the worst possible fate, since the soul's spiritual progress halts and conversion back into the faith is impossible.[25] Alongside this notion of continuous rebirth, Yazidi
Yazidi
theology also includes descriptions of heaven and hell, with hell extinguished, and other traditions incorporating these ideas into a belief system that includes reincarnation.[79] Yazidi
Yazidi
holy texts[edit] The Yazidi
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
Yazidis
in response to Western travellers' and scholars' interest in the Yazidi
Yazidi
religion; the material in them is consistent with authentic Yazidi
Yazidi
traditions, however.[73] 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.[73] The qawls are full of cryptic allusions and usually need to be accompanied by čirōks or 'stories' that explain their context.[73] Organisation[edit] Yazidi
Yazidi
society is hierarchical. The secular leader of the world's Yazidi
Yazidi
is a hereditary emir or prince, and the current emir is Prince Tahseen Said.[86] A chief sheikh, the Baba Sheikh, heads the religious hierarchy of the Yazidis, and the current Sheikh
Sheikh
is Khurto Hajji Ismail.[87] The Yazidis
Yazidis
are strictly endogamous; members of the three Yazidi
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.[21] Religious practices[edit] Prayers[edit]

Temple entry at Lalish

Yazidis
Yazidis
have five daily prayers:[84]

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 sunset prayers.

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.[84][88] Calendar and festivals[edit] 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 Gregorian calendar).[89] The Yazidi
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.[citation needed] 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
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 needed]

Tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
(Şêx Adî) in Laliş

The greatest festival of the year for ordinary Yazidis
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.[84][90] The festival, which is celebrated from 23 Aylūl (September) to 1 Tashrīn (October), is an important time for social contact and affirmation of identity.[91] If possible, Yazidis
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 the celebration, Yazidis
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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] There is also a three-day fast in December.[79][84] Purity and taboos[edit]

This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this 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.[92]

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
Yazidis
is also considered polluting. In the past, Yazidis
Yazidis
avoided military service which would have led them to live among Muslims
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 resembles Yazidi
Yazidi
pronunciations of koasasa. Additionally, lettuce grown near Mosul
Mosul
is thought by some Yazidis
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
Yazidi
authority stated that ordinary Yazidis
Yazidis
may eat what they want, but holy men refrain from certain vegetables (including cabbage) because "they cause gases".[93] Customs[edit] Children are baptised at birth and circumcision is not required, but is practised by some due to regional customs.[94] Dead are buried in conical tombs immediately after death and buried with hands crossed. Yazidis
Yazidis
are predominantly monogamous, but chiefs may be polygamous, having more than one wife. Western perceptions[edit] As the Yazidis
Yazidis
hold religious beliefs that are mostly unfamiliar to outsiders, many non- Yazidi
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 occultism. In Theosophy[edit] 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).[95]

The Theosophical Society
Theosophical Society
believes that Sanat Kumara
Sanat Kumara
is the "Lord (or Ruler) of the World".[96] Just as with Yazidi
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.[97] Similarly, the Theosophist Mark Pinkham explicitly attempts to link the Yazidi
Yazidi
myth of the Peacock Angel
Angel
to Christ.[98] 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 Theosophical Sanat Kumara
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
Satan
and his outcast nature. However, Pinkham states that that the Angel
Angel
will eventually succeed in redeeming himself, thereby symbolically returning as Christ. The redemption of the Peacock Angel
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.[99] 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.[100] However, the Earthly representative of the Logos, is the “Ruler of the World,” which would square with the Yazidi
Yazidi
claim that Tawûsê Melek is an emanation of God, but not God
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.[81]:31 Furthmore, the Alawites
Alawites
tend to associate ‘Ali with the sun.[101][102][103] In Western literature[edit]

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".[104] George Gurdjieff
George Gurdjieff
wrote about his encounters with the Yazidis
Yazidis
several 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
Sufi
viewpoint, as an allegory of the higher powers in humanity.[105] In H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Horror at Red Hook", some of the murderous foreigners are identified as belonging to "the Yezidi clan of devil-worshippers".[106] In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series
Aubrey-Maturin series
novel The Letter of Marque, set during the Napoleonic wars, there is a Yazidi
Yazidi
character named Adi. His ethnicity is referred to as "Dasni". A fictional Yazidi
Yazidi
character of note is the super-powered police officer King Peacock of the Top 10 series (and related comics).[107] 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 Ta'us. The Yazidis
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
Yazidis
are portrayed as ancient guardians of the megalithic site, Gobekli Tepe, in Kurdish Turkey.[citation needed] In US Army memoirs[edit] In her memoir of her service with an intelligence unit of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division in Iraq
Iraq
during 2003 and 2004, Kayla Williams (2005) records being stationed in northern Iraq
Iraq
near the Syrian border in an area inhabited by "Yezidis". According to Williams, some Yezidis were Kurdish-speaking but did not consider themselves Kurds
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
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 Yazidis
Yazidis
for the American occupation of Iraq, in part because the Americans protect them from oppression by militant Muslims
Muslims
and the nearby Kurds. Kaplan notes that the peace and calm of Sinjar
Sinjar
is virtually unique in Iraq: "Parents and children line the streets when U.S. patrols pass by, while Yazidi
Yazidi
clerics pray for the welfare of U.S. forces."[108] Tony Lagouranis comments on a Yazidi
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 beliefs: Yazidi
Yazidi
don't have a Satan. Malak Ta'us, an archangel, God's favorite, was not thrown out of heaven the way Satan
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.[109]

Persecution of Yazidis[edit] The belief of some followers of other monotheistic religions of the region that the Peacock Angel
Angel
equates with their own unredeemed evil spirit Satan,[38]:29[26] has incited centuries of persecution of the Yazidis
Yazidis
as "devil worshippers".[39][40] Under the Ottoman Empire[edit] A large Yazidi
Yazidi
community existed in Syria, but they declined due to persecution by the Ottoman Empire.[110][111] Several punitive expeditions were organized against the Yazidis
Yazidis
by the Ottoman governors (Wāli) of Diyarbakir, Mosul
Mosul
and Baghdad. The objective of these persecutions was the forced conversion of Yazidis
Yazidis
to the Sunni Hanafi
Hanafi
Islam
Islam
of the Ottoman Empire.[112]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Mishefa Reş

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Kitêba Cilwe

In post-invasion Iraq[edit] On 7 April 2007 a crowd of up to 2,000 Yazidi
Yazidi
stoned a 17-year-old Iraqi of the Yazidi
Yazidi
faith Du'a Khalil Aswad to death.[113][114] Rumours that the stoning was connected to her alleged conversion to Islam
Islam
prompted reprisals against Yazidis
Yazidis
by Sunnis, including the 2007 Mosul
Mosul
massacre. In August 2007, some 500 Yazidis
Yazidis
were killed in a coordinated series of bombings in Qahtaniya that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq
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 Yazidi
Yazidi
minority.[115] By the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL)[edit] Main articles: Sinjar
Sinjar
massacre and Genocide of Yazidis
Yazidis
by ISIL In 2014, with the territorial gains of the Salafist militant group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL) there was much upheaval in the Iraqi Yazidi
Yazidi
population. ISIL captured Sinjar in August 2014 following the withdrawal of Peshmerga
Peshmerga
troops of Masoud Barzani, forcing up to 50,000 Yazidis
Yazidis
to flee into the nearby mountainous region.[116] In early August the town of Sinjar
Sinjar
was nearly deserted as Kurdish Peshmerga
Peshmerga
forces were no longer able to keep ISIL forces from advancing. ISIL had previously declared the Yazidis
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.[117] Up to 200,000 people (including an estimated 40,000 Yazidi[118]) fled the city before it was captured by ISIL forces, giving rise to fears of a humanitarian tragedy.[117] Alongside the local Yazidis
Yazidis
fleeing Sinjar
Sinjar
were Yazidis
Yazidis
(and Shiites) who fled to the city a month earlier when ISIL captured the town of Tal Afar.[117][42] Most of the population fleeing Sinjar
Sinjar
retreated by trekking up nearby mountains with the ultimate goal of reaching Dohuk
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 Sinjar
Sinjar
stated that sick or elderly Yazidi
Yazidi
who could not make the trek were being executed by ISIL. Yazidi
Yazidi
parliamentarian Haji Ghandour told reporters that "In our history, we have suffered 72 massacres. We are worried Sinjar
Sinjar
could be a 73rd."[117] UN groups say at least 40,000 members of the Yazidi
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.[119] 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,[120] helping them cross the Tigris
Tigris
into Rojava.[121] Some Yazidis
Yazidis
minority were later escorted back to Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan
by Peshmerga
Peshmerga
and YPG
YPG
forces, Kurdish officials have said.[122][123] Their plight received international media coverage,[124] which led United States President Barack Obama to authorise humanitarian airdrops of meals and water to thousands of Yazidi
Yazidi
and Christian religious minorities trapped on Sinjar
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.[125][126] American humanitarian assistance began on 7 August 2014,[127] with the UK Royal Air Force subsequently contributing to the relief effort.[128] At an emergency meeting in London, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
also pledged humanitarian support,[129] while European nations resolved to join the US in helping to arm Peshmerga
Peshmerga
fighters aiding the Yazidis
Yazidis
with more advanced weaponry.[130]

Yazidi
Yazidi
boy in Iraqi Kurdistan, August 2014

Later PKK
PKK
and YPG
YPG
fighters with Peshmergas and support of the US airstrikes helped the rest of the trapped Yazidis
Yazidis
to escape from the mountain.[123][131][132] One relief worker in the evacuation operation described the conditions on Mount Sinjar
Sinjar
as "a genocide", having witnessed hundreds of corpses.[121] Yazidi
Yazidi
girls in Iraq
Iraq
allegedly raped by ISIL fighters have committed suicide by jumping to their death from Mount Sinjar, as described in a witness statement.[133] In Sinjar, ISIL destroyed a Shiite
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
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.[134][135] 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.[136] 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."[137] Speaking of Yazidi
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
Mosul
and in Raqqa, Syria, carrying price tags."[138] Dr. Widad Akrawi said that ISIL uses slavery and rape as weapons of war.[139]

Defend International
Defend International
provided humanitarian aid to Yazidi
Yazidi
refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan
in December 2014.

In September 2014, Defend International
Defend International
launched a worldwide campaign entitled "Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now" to raise awareness about the tragedy of the Yazidis
Yazidis
in Sinjar
Sinjar
and to co-ordinate activities related to intensifying efforts aimed at rescuing Yazidi
Yazidi
and Christian women and girls captured by ISIL.[140] In October 2014 the United Nations
United Nations
reported that more than 5,000 Yazidis
Yazidis
had been murdered and 5,000 to 7,000 (mostly women and children) had been abducted by the ISIL.[141][142] In the same month, President of Defend International
Defend International
dedicated her 2014 International Pfeffer Peace Award to the Yazidis.[143][144][145][146][147][148] She asked the international community to make sure that the victims are not forgotten; they should be rescued, protected, fully assisted and compensated fairly.[140] ISIS has, in their digital magazine Dabiq, explicitly claimed religious justification for enslaving Yazidi women.[149][150][151][152][153] 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".[154] In December 2014, Amnesty International published a report.[155][156] 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
Yazidi
coalition forces, and have distinguished themselves as warriors.[157][158] See also[edit]

Yazidi
Yazidi
Academy

References[edit]

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(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 religious affiliation.  ^ a b *The Religion
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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
Shaitan
during his seven thousand years of exile in Hell
Hell
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tried to establish themselves as an independent, non-Kurdish ethnic group for political reasons...  ^ Refugees, United Nations
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. Retrieved 2014-08-18.  ^ 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" (p. 347) ^ Joseph 1919, pp. 119–21 ^ https://www.academia.edu/10772192/The_Cults_of_the_Angels_The_Indigenous_Religions_of_Kurdistan ^ 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 Yazidi
Yazidi
Religion
Religion
From Spoken Word to Written Scripture. ISIM Newsletter. https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/16757/ISIM_1_The_Evolution_of_the_Yezidi_Religion_From_Spoken_Word_to_Written_Scripture.pdf?sequence=1 ^ a b c d Asatryan, Garnik S.; Arakelova, Victoria (2014). The Religion
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 Peacock- Angel
Angel
(in the Yezidi imagination being featured as a bird, a peacock or a cock, and sometimes even a dove); Sheikh
Sheikh
‘Adi (Seyx ‘Adi = Sheikh
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
Adam
directly, rather from his union with Eve, as is the case with all the rest of mankind.  ^ "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
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
God
in all branches of the Cult except Yezidism, as discussed below.  ^ "Yezidi Reformer: Sheikh
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
Yazidi
Oral Tradition in Iraq. Psychology Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-7007-1397-2. Retrieved 20 August 2010.  ^ "Assyrian International Newsagency (AINA), ''Iraqi Yazidi
Yazidi
MP: We Are Being Butchered Under the Banner of 'There is No God
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 2008-03-31. Yazidis
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
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
Yazidi
beliefs. Indeed their very name is likely taken from an old Persian word for angel.  ^ Yazidis
Yazidis
celebrate New Year in Iraq, Al Jazeera
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
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
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
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 nonbelievers.  ^ Allison, Christine. YAZIDIS. Encyclopædia Iranica (1996). New York. Retrieved 11 June 2015.  ^ Lair, Patrick (19 January 2008). "Conversation with a Yazidi
Yazidi
Kurd". eKurd Daily. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2015.  ^ "Richness of Iraq's minority religions revealed", BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2015. ^ Page 363 https://archive.org/stream/sixmonthsinasyr00parrgoog/sixmonthsinasyr00parrgoog_djvu.txt ^ "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 Theosophical lore, Sanat Kumara
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 World.  ^ 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, Inc.  ^ Blavatsky, H. P. (1968 [1889]). 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 (1927). ^ Shah, Idries (1964). The Sufis. Anchor Doubleday. pp. 437–38. ISBN 0-385-07966-4.  ^ Lovecraft, H.P., The Complete Fiction, Barnes & Noble, 2008; ISBN 978-1-4351-2296-3 ^ Moore, Alan
Moore, Alan
and Ha, Gene (1999–2000) Top Ten issues 1–12, ^ Kaplan, Lawrence F. (2007-10-31). " Sinjar
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. ISBN 978-0-451-22112-4.  ^ 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). Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 18. Kessinger. p. 769. ISBN 0-7661-3695-7.  ^ "Video Captures Stoning of Kurdish Teenage Girl". 2007-04-25.  ^ Lattimer, Mark (13 December 2007). "Freedom lost". The Guardian.  ^ "At least 20 killed in Iraq
Iraq
blast". CNN.com International. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.  ^ "Isil militants execute dozens from Yazidi
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
Iraq
Air Force to Back Kurds
Kurds
Fighting Islamists". Associated Press. Retrieved 3 July 2015.  ^ Chulov, Martin (6 August 2014). "40,000 Iraqis
Iraqis
stranded on mountain as Isis jihadists threaten death". The Guardian.  ^ " Kurds
Kurds
rescue Yazidis
Yazidis
from Iraqi mountain". Al Jazeera. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.  ^ a b "Thousands of Yazidis
Yazidis
'still trapped' on Iraq
Iraq
mountain". BBC News. 12 August 2014.  ^ Siddique, Haroon (10 August 2014). "20,000 Iraqis
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 here, Iraqi refugees
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
Yazidi
minority with supply drops from the air, the Syrian Kurds
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
Yazidis
from the mountain, transporting them into Syrian territory to give them first aid, food and water, and returning some to Iraq
Iraq
via a pontoon bridge. [...] The U.N. estimated around 50,000 Yazidis
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 was higher.  ^ "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". Whitehouse.gov.  ^ Cooper, Helene; Landler, Mark; Rubin, Alissa J. (7 August 2014). "Obama Allows Limited Airstrikes on ISIS". The New York Times.  ^ "Obama authorises Iraq
Iraq
air strikes on Islamist fighters". BBC World News. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2015.  ^ "Britain's RAF makes second aid drop to Mount Sinjar
Sinjar
Iraqis
Iraqis
trapped by Isis – video". The Guardian. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.  ^ " Iraq
Iraq
crisis: Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
says Australia's role in Iraq
Iraq
only humanitarian 'at this stage'; UN calls for 'urgent' international 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
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
Yazidi
anger at Iraq's forgotten people". BBC News. Retrieved 23 December 2014.  ^ "IS in Iraq: Yazidi
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 September 2014.  ^ Ivan Watson, "'Treated like cattle': Yazidi
Yazidi
women sold, raped, enslaved by ISIS", CNN, 30 October 2014. ^ "Dr Widad Akrawi
Widad Akrawi
Interviewed at RojNews: How should the international community classify the systematic massacre of the Yezidi civilians in Sinjar
Sinjar
by IS jihadists that included taking Yezidi girls as sex slaves". Archived from the original on 28 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-26.  ^ a b "Save The Yazidis: The World Has To Act Now". Retrieved 2014-09-12.  ^ Steve Hopkins, "Full horror of the Yazidis
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 2014. ^ "Dr Widad Akrawi
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.  ^ "Dr. Widad Akrawi
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 2014.  ^ "Dr. Widad Akrawi
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
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
Yazidi
women sold as sex slaves 'for theological reasons', says ISIS", The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2014. ^ 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
Yazidi
women tell of sex-slavery trauma". BBC News. Retrieved 23 December 2014.  ^ "Sex slavery 'pushes ISIL victims to suicide'", Al Jazeera, 23 December 2014. ^ Dirik, Dilar (August 21, 2015). "From Genocide to Resistance: Yazidi Women Fight Back". Newsgroup: www.teleSURtv.net/english. Retrieved November 21, 2015.  ^ Barbarani, Sofia (September 2, 2014). "'Islamic State tore our families apart. Now we're fighting back'. Meet the Kurdish women's resistance army". Newsgroup: telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

Açıkyıldız, 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.  Cumont, Franz (1911). The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. Chicago, IL: Open Court Publishing. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-486-20321-8. OCLC 670375427.  Drower, E.S. (1941). Peacock Angel; Being Some Account of Votaries of a Secret Cult and Their Sanctuaries. London: John Murray. OCLC 4821609.  Haji, Salman H., Pharmacist, Lincoln NE US 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 University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-18333-7. OCLC 809235956.  Joseph, Isya (January 1909). "Yezidi Texts" (PDF). The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures. 25 (2): 111–156. doi:10.1086/369616. JSTOR 527914.  Omarkhali, Khanna; Xankî, Kovan (2009). Metodeka analîza qewlên Êzdiyan: li ser mesela qewlê Omer Xala û Hesen Çinêrî=A Method of the Analysis of the Yezidi Qewls: On the example of the Religious Hymn of Omar Khala and Hesin Chineri (in Kurdish). Beyoğlu, İstanbul: Avesta Basın Yayın. ISBN 978-9-944-38293-9. OCLC 703443917.  Kreyenbroek, Philip G. (1995). "Yezidism -- Its Background, Observances, and Textual Tradition". Texts and Studies in Religion
Religion
(in Kurdish with English translations). Lewiston, Queenston and Lampeter, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. 62. OCLC 31377794. CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link) ISBN 978-0-773-49004-8 Kreyenbroek, Philip G.; Kartal, Z.; Omarkhali, Kh.; Rashow, Kh. Jindy (2009). Yezidism in Europe: Different Generations Speak About Their Religion. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-06060-8. OCLC 554952854.  Kurdoev, K.K. "Ob alfavite ezidskikh religioznykh knig" (Report on the alphabet of the Yezidi religious books). Pis'mennye pamiatniki i problemy istorii kul'tury narodov Vostoka. VIII godichnaia nauchnaia sessiia LO IV AN SSSR. Leningrad, 1972, pp. 196–199. In Russian. Kurdoev, K.K. "Ob avtorstve i iazyke religioznykh knig kurdov XI–XII vv. predvaritel'noe soobshchenie" (Preliminary report on the Yezidi religious books of the eleventh-twelfth centuries: their author and language). VII godichnaia nauchnaia sessiia LO IV AN SSSR. Leningrad, 1971, pp. 22–24. In Russian. Marie, A. 1911. "La découverte récente des deux livres sacrés des Yêzîdis". Anthropos, 1911/VI, 1. pp. 1–39. Menzel, Th. "Yazidi, Yazidiya" in Encyclopaedia of Islam. Omarkhali, Kh. "Yezidizm. Iz glubini tisyachaletiy" (Yezidism. From the early millennia). Sankt Peterburg, 2005. In Russian. Omarkhali, Kh. "Yezidism: Society, Symbol, Observance". Istanbul, 2007. In Kurdish. Reshid, T. Yezidism: historical roots, International Journal of Yezidi Studies, January 2005. Reshid, R., Etnokonfessionalnaya situasiya v sovremennom Kurdistane. Moskva-Sankt-Peterburg: Nauka, 2004, p. 16. In Russian. Rodziewicz, A., Yezidi Eros. Love as The Cosmogonic Factor and Distinctive Feature of The Yezidi Theology
Theology
in The Light of Some Ancient Cosmogonies, Fritillaria Kurdica, 2014/3,41, pp. 42–105. Rodziewicz, A., Tawus Protogonos: Parallels between the Yezidi Theology
Theology
and Some Ancient Greek Cosmogonies, Iran and the Caucasus, 2014/18,1, pp. 27–45. Wahbi, T., Dînî Caranî Kurd, Gelawej Journal, N 11–12, Baghdad, 1940, pp. 51–52. In Kurdish. Williams, Kayla, and Michael E. Staub. 2005. Love My Rifle More Than You. W.W. Norton, New York. ISBN 0-393-06098-5

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yazidism.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Yazidi

Les Ezidis de France Yazda – A Global Yazidi
Yazidi
Organization 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
Iraq
Avoids Its Shrine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 

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Al-Faw Peninsula Al-Jazira Euphrates Hamrin Mountains Persian Gulf Islands Mesopotamia Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
Marshes Places Lakes Shatt al-Arab Syrian Desert Tigris Umm Qasr Zagros Mountains

Politics

Administrative divisions Constitution Council of Representatives (legislative) Elections Foreign aid Foreign relations Government

Council of Ministers Presidency Council President Prime Minister

Human rights

in pre-Saddam Iraq in Saddam Hussein's Iraq in post-invasion Iraq

in ISIL-controlled territory

LGBT Freedom of religion Women

Law Military Police Political parties Judiciary Wars and conflicts

Economy

Central Bank Dinar (currency) Infrastructure Oil Industry Oil reserves Reconstruction Stock Exchange Telecommunications Transportation

Society

Cuisine Culture Education Health Media Music Smoking Sports

Demographics

Iraqis

diaspora refugees

Languages

Arabic Aramaic Kurdish Persian Iraqi Turkmen
Iraqi Turkmen
dialect

Minorities

Armenians Assyrians Circassians Kurds Mandaeans Marsh Arabs Persians Solluba Turkmen/Turcoman Jews

Religion

Islam Christianity Mandaeism Yazidis

Outline Index

Category Portal

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Iranian peoples

Ethnic groups

Balochis Gilaks Kurds

Laks,Yazidi

Lurs

Bakhtiaris

Mazanderanis Ossetians

Jaszs

Pamiris

Tajiks
Tajiks
of Xinjiang

Pashtuns Persians Tajiks Talyshis Tats

Caucasus Iran

Wakhis Yaghnobis Zazas

Ancient peoples

Ancient Iranian peoples

Origin

Indo-Iranians

Languages

Iranian languages

Iranian religions

Ætsæg Din Bábism Khurramites Manichaeism Mazdakism Mazdaznan Yarsanism Yazdânism Yazidism Zoroastrianism

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Yazidi
Yazidi
diaspora and regions

Asia

Armenia Georgia Syria Turkey

Europe

France Germany Russia Sweden

North America

United States

Authority control

LCCN: sh85149

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