The Yazidis (also written as Yezidis) (/jəˈziːdiːz/ (listen) yə-ZEE-deez, Kurmanji: Êzîdî, IPA: [eːzɪˈdiː]) or the Yazidi people (also Yezidi nation) (Kurmanji: Miletê Êzîdî) are a mostly Kurmanji (or Ezdiki) speaking minority ethnoreligious group, indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey) who are strictly endogamous. Some of them identify themselves as ethnic Kurds but most of them identify themselves as a distinct ethno-religious group, and they are recognized as a distinct ethnic group in Iraq and Armenia.
Many Yazidis consider Yazidism both an ethnic and a religious identity. Their religion, Yazidism, is also called Sharfadin by Yazidis. It is a monotheistic religion and has elements of ancient mesopotamian religions and also combines aspects of Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Yazidism is not linked to Zoroastrianism. They speak Kurmanji and it is called Ezdiki (meaning: "the Yazidi language") by Yazidis. The Yazidis in Bashiqa and Bahzani speak Arabic as their mother language. Yazidis who marry non-Yazidis are automatically considered to be converted to the religion of their spouse and therefore are not permitted to call themselves Yazidis. The Yazidis in Iraq live primarily in the Nineveh Province, part of the disputed territories of northern Iraq.
Additional communities in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Syria have been in decline since the 1990s as a result of significant migration to Europe, especially to Germany. According to the 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.
The Yazidis are monotheists, believing in 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. Some Western scholars erroneously linked this ambivalent character to a myth of his temporary fall from God's favour, before his remorseful tears extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he was reconciled with God. However, it is not Melek Taus, but Azazil, who was banished to hell, who is different from Melek Taus for most Yazidis. Such legends might be introduced by foreign scholars, who misinterpreted the Yazidi faith.
This belief has been linked by some people to Sufi mystical 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". Persecution of Yazidis has continued in their home communities within the borders of modern Iraq.
Flag used by most Yazidis
Yazidis on the mountain of Sinjar, Iraqi–Syrian border, 1920s
|Regions with significant populations|
(name of the settlement areas of the Yazidis called Ezidkhan or Êzîdxan by Yazidis)
|Listed by countries|
|Iraq||500,000 (2018 estimation)|
|Germany||190,000 (2018 estimation)|
|Russia||40,586 (2010 census)|
|Belgium||35,000 (2018 estimation)|
|Armenia||35,272 (2011 census)|
|Georgia||12,174 (2014 census)|
|France||10,000 (2018 estimation)|
|Sweden||6,000 (2018 estimation)|
|Turkey||5,000 (2010 estimation)|
|Canada||1,200 (2018 estimation)|
|Hungary||118 (2011 census)|
|Belarus||45 (2009 census)|
|Artsakh||16 (2015 census)|
|Australia||15 (2016 census)|
|Latvia||4 (2018 official statistics)|
|South Ossetia||1 (2015 census)|
|Yazidism (also called Sharfadin by Yazidis)|
|Kurmanji (also called Ezdiki by Yazidis)|
|Yazidism (also Sharfadin)|
|Baba Sheikh||Khurto Hajji Ismail|
|Other name(s)||Êzidî, Yazdani|
Historically, the Yazidis lived primarily in communities located in present-day Iraq, Turkey, and 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 population vary.
The majority 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 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 government.
According to the Human Rights Watch, Yazidis were under the Arabisation process of Saddam Hussein between 1970 and 2003. In 2009, some 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 Yazidis identify themselves as Kurds. A report from 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 identify themselves as Kurds. The HRW report also criticises heavy-handed tactics."
There has been a dispute as to whether Yazidi are Kurdish.:48:219 Additionally, the Soviet Union considered the 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 sections.
Yazidis in 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 Yazidis in 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 Iraq War.
The 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 Yazidis in 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, 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 and Armenia.
According to the 2011 census, there are 35,272 Yazidis in Armenia, making them Armenia's largest ethnic minority group. Ten years earlier, in the 2001 census, 40,620 Yazidis were registered in Armenia. They have a significant presence in the Armavir province of 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 Yazidi villages.
There is a Yazidi temple called Ziarat in the village of Aknalich in the region of Armavir. Construction on a new Yazidi temple in Aknalich, called "Quba Mere Diwan," is underway. The temple is slated to become the largest Yazidi temple in the world and is privately funded by Mirza Sloian, a Yazidi businessman based in Moscow who is originally from the Armavir region.
The 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.
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 Hannover, Bielefeld, Celle, Bremen, Bad Oeynhausen, Pforzheim and Oldenburg. Most are from Turkey and, more recently, Iraq and live in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Since 2008, Sweden has seen sizeable growth in its Yazidi emigrant community, which had grown to around 4,000 by 2010, and a smaller community exists in the Netherlands. Other 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.
The Yazidi people speak Kurmanji but it is also called Ezdiki by Yazidis. Their cultural practices are observed in Kurmanji, which is also the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis. Although the Yazidis speak mostly in Kurmanji, 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 Yazidis are 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'.
One of the important figures of Yazidism is 'Adī ibn Musafir, who is said to be of Umayyad descent. Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir settled in the valley of Laliş (some 58 kilometres (36 mi) northeast of Mosul) in the Yazidi mountains in the early 12th century and founded the 'Adawiyya Sufi order. He died in 1162, and his tomb at Laliş is a focal point of Yazidi pilgrimage and the principal Yazidi holy 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 pre-Islamic ancient Mesopotamian religious traditions. It is also believed that Yazidism is a branch of Yazdânism, the pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism. Further she derived the term from a Zoroastrian concept of Holy beings (Middle Persian: Yazdān), often translated as "angels" or "archangels". While he refers to "Yazdânism" as possibly being the real name of this old religion and the sources of modern designation, Yezidi, he has published evidence of this assertion only in his 1992 book, Kurds: A Concise Handbook.
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.
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 Ibaḍ."
Modern-day Assyrians and Yazidis from Northern Iraq have a stronger genetic continuity with the original Mesopotamian people. The northern Iraqi Assyrian and Yazidi populations were found in the middle of a genetic continuum between the Near East and Southeastern Europe.
Yazidis are monotheists, believing in one God, who created the world and entrusted it into the care of a Heptad of seven Holy Beings, often known as Angels or heft sirr (the Seven Mysteries). The names of these beings or angels are Azaz'il, 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 (identified with one of these Angels). Tawûsê Melek is often identified by Christians and Muslims with Satan. According to claims in Encyclopedia of the Orient,
The 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 wrong." Non-Yazidis have associated Melek Taus with Shaitan (Islamic/Arab name) or Satan, but Yazidis find that offensive and do not actually mention that name.
The 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 trinity is 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 Adî considered to be a manifestation of Tawûsê Melek and vice versa. The same also applies to Sultan Ezid. A popular Yazidi story narrates the fall of Tawûsê Melek and his subsequent rejection by humanity, with the exception of the Yazidis.:21–22
The Kitêba Cilwe "Book of Illumination", which claims to be the words of Tawûsê Melek, and which presumably represents Yazidi belief, states that he allocates responsibilities, blessings, and misfortunes as he sees fit and that it is not for the race of Adam to question him. 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 was living in Paradise, and also when Nemrud threw 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 and resembles Zoroastrianism or Hinduism. Especially worshipping a holy peacock, Melek Taus in oil lamps is more common in Hinduism. They believe that God first created Tawûsê Melek from his own (God's) illumination (Ronahî) and the other six archangels were created later. God ordered Tawûsê Melek not to bow to other beings. Then 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, and the seemingly contradictory command, 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 to 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 Nisan (April).
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 Adam was 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: God had directed him not to bow to any other being, and his refusal of the later order to bow to Adam was thus obedience of God's original command. 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.
According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.
In Yazdani theologies, an absolute transcendental God (Hâk or Haqq) encompasses the whole universe. He binds together the cosmos with his essence, and manifests as the heft sirr (the "Heptad", "Seven Mysteries", "Seven Angels"), who sustain universal life and can incarnate in persons, bâbâ ("Gates" or "Avatar"). These seven emanations are comparable to the seven Anunnaki aspects of Anu of ancient Mesopotamian theology, and they include Melek Taus (the "Peacock Angel" or "King"), who is the same as the ancient god Dumuzi son of Enki and the main deity in Yazidi theology, and Shaykh Shams al-Din, "the sun of the faith", who is Mithra.
Yazdânism teaches the cyclic nature of the world with reincarnation of the deity and of people being a common feature, traversing incarnations of the soul of a man into human form or an animal or even a plant. These religions also teach that there are seven cycles of the universe, six of which have already happened, while the seventh one is yet to unfold. In each cycle, there is a set of six reincarnated persons (one female, five male) who will herald the new cycle and preside over it (the seventh one in the set being the ever-lasting, the ever-present Almighty).
The reincarnation of the deity could be in one of the three forms: a "reflection incarnation", a "guest incarnation", or the highest form, an "embodiment incarnation". Jesus, Ali, and the three leaders of the three primary branches of Yazdânism are all examples of embodiment incarnations, meaning Godhead actually born in a human body.
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 Yazidi community; 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 includes reincarnation.
One of the key creation beliefs held by Yazidis is that they are the descendants of Adam through his son Shehid bin Jer rather than Eve. 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 from Adam alone, while other humans are descendants of both Adam and 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.
The 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; however, the material in them is consistent with authentic Yazidi traditions. 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 context.
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 Ismail. The 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.
Yazidis have five daily prayers:
Nivêja berîspêdê (the Dawn Prayer), Nivêja rojhilatinê (the Sunrise Prayer), Nivêja nîvroyê (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.
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).
The Yazidi New Year, called Serê Sal or Çarşemiya Sor (Red Wednesday), 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 def (drum) and shebab (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.
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 (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.
If possible, 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 koasasas (reincarnations of the seven holy beings in human form), 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 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.
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.
Many Yazidis consider pork as prohibited. However, many Yazidis living in Germany, began to view this taboo as foreign import from Judaism or Islam and not part of Yazidism, therefore abandon this rule.
Too much contact with non-Yazidis is also considered polluting. In the past, Yazidis avoided military service which would have led them to live among 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 pronunciations of koasasa. Additionally, lettuce grown near 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.
As the 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 occultism.
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).
The 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 Yazidi myth 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 Theosophical 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 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 the sun.
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 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 viewpoint, as an allegory of the higher powers in humanity.
A fictional 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 Ta'us.
The 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 Turkey.
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 themselves 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 Yazidis for 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, while 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 beliefs: 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.
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".
A large Yazidi community existed in Syria, but it 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 Hanafi Islam of the Ottoman Empire.
On April 7, 2007, a crowd of up to 2,000 Yazidis 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 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 minority.
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 the local Yazidis fleeing Sinjar were Yazidis (and Shiites) who fled to the city a month earlier when ISIL captured the town of Tal Afar.
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 Sinjar stated 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 the 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 (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 Peshmerga and YPG forces, 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 advanced weaponry.
Later PKK and 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 Iraq allegedly 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 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, 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.
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 Yazidis in Sinjar and to co-ordinate activities related to intensifying efforts aimed at rescuing 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 ISIL. In the same month, President of 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 compensated fairly.
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 soldiers.
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.
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 of 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 in 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 Tammuz.
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
There are probably some 200,000–300,000 Yazidis worldwide.
they are ... are almost the only settled population in the Western desert.
Recently, Yazidis in Armenia tried to establish themselves as an independent, non-Kurdish ethnic group for political reasons...
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.
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 (in the Yezidi imagination being featured as a bird, a peacock or a cock, and sometimes even a dove); Sheikh ‘Adi (Seyx ‘Adi = 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 mankind.
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.
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.
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 nonbelievers.
Some people, mostly Christians, equate Sanat Kumara with Lucifer/Satan, perhaps due to the fact that in Theosophical lore, 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.
The deity is comparable to the sun in that He radiates light and heat forever.
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.
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.
In a dusty camp here, 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 around 50,000 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.
The 1935 Yazidi revolt took place in Iraq in October 1935. The Iraqi government, under Yasin al-Hashimi, crushed a revolt by the Yazidi people of Jabal Sinjar against the imposition of conscription. The Iraqi army, led by Bakr Sidqi, reportedly killed over 200 Yazidi and imposed martial law throughout the region. Parallel revolts opposing conscription also broke out that year in the northern (Kurdish populated) and mid-Euphrates (majorly Shia populated) regions of Iraq.
The Yazidis of Jabal Sinjar constituted the majority of Iraqi Yazidi population - the third largest non-Muslim minority within the kingdom, and the largest ethno-religious group in the province of Mosul. In 1939, the region of Jabal Sinjar was once again put under military control, together with the Shekhan District.2007 Yazidi communities bombings
The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred on August 14, 2007, when four coordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Til Ezer (al-Qahtaniyah) and Siba Sheikh Khidir (al-Jazirah), near Mosul in Iraq.
The Iraqi Red Crescent estimated that the bombs killed at least 500 and wounded 1,500 people, making this the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack.
It is also the sixth deadliest act of terrorism in history, following behind the 14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings in Somalia, the 1990 massacre of Sri Lankan Police officers in Sri Lanka, the 2008 Christmas massacres in Uganda, the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre in Iraq, and the September 11 attacks in the United States. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.Ain Sifni
Ain Sifni (also Shekhan, Kurmanji: Şêxan) is the capital of the Shekhan District in northern Iraq. Its inhabitants are primarily Yazidis with a significant minority of Assyrians. It is one of the primary holy cities of the ethno-religious group of the Yazidis and functions as a capital for them as it is the residence of the current hereditary leader (Mīr, or prince) of the Yazidi people, with the current holder being Tahseen Said. The town is also the seat of the Shekhan District in the Mosul Governorate in northern Iraq. It belongs to the disputed territories of Northern Iraq.
The town is mainly populated by Yazidis, with a minority of Assyrian Christians. The churches are Mar Yusuf (Saint Joseph) Chaldean Catholic and Mar Kyriakos, which belongs to the Assyrian Church of the East. The languages spoken in the town are Kurmanji, Arabic and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.Alagyaz
Alagyaz (Armenian: Ալագյազ; Kurdish: Elegez, until 1938, Mets Dzhamshlu, Bol'shoy Dzhamushli, Dzhamushlu Bol'shoy, Dzhamushli, Mets Jamyshlu, and Mets Jamshlu) is a village in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. Most of the population are Yazidis and Kurds.
The village has a cheese factory.April 2007 Mosul massacre
The 2007 Mosul massacre was a mass killing that took place on April 23, 2007 in Mosul, in northern Iraq. A bus carrying workers from the Mosul Textile Factory was hijacked by unidentified attackers. The attackers checked the passengers' identity cards, telling Muslims and Christians to get off the bus. They then drove the bus to eastern Mosul with 23 remaining passengers, all Yazidis, where the hostages were made to lie face down in front of a wall and shot.Asayîşa Êzîdxanê
The Asayîşa Êzîdxanê (Asayîş is Northern Kurdish for security, Ezidkhan means "Land of the Yazidis"), also called the Security Forces of Êzîdxan, are the police force in the regions controlled by the PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units. The force is a Yazidi organization which aims to protect the rights of this ethno-religious minority. It has a training post in Sinjar, where the policemen are trained by the PKK. The force also gets officially financial aid from the Iraqi Government.
The Asayîşa Êzîdxanê are officially not subordinated to the Sinjar Resistance Units and shall attenuate the dependence from institutional powers. The lack of faith in the official powers is a consequence of the escape of Peshmerga-troops in August 2014, which enabled the Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL, which overrun the lines of the Peshmerga into the land of the Yazidis. The new-founded force has the aim to create safety in the area controlled by the PKK and Sinjar Resistance Units to enable the return of the Yazidis in the exodus. Recently, about 90% of the Yazidis hasn't returned to Sinjar yet.There are tensions with the KDP of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, because the KDP wants to rule over the Sinjar mountains again, while many Yazidis feel betrayed and prefer self-defense and -determination now.Ethnic origins of people in Canada
Given here are the ethnic origins of Canadian residents (citizens, landed immigrants, and non-citizen temporary residents) as recorded by them on their 2016 census form. The relevant census question asked for "the ethnic or cultural origins" of the respondent's ancestors and not the respondents themselves.
As data were collected by self-declaration, labels may not necessarily describe the true ancestry of respondents. Also note that many respondents acknowledged multiple ancestries. These people were added to the "multiple origin" total for each origin listed. These include responses as varied as a respondent who listed eight different origins and a respondent who answered "French Canadian" (leading to him/her being counted once for "French" and once for "Canadian"). As with all self-reported data, understanding of the question may have varied from respondent to respondent.Ezidkhan
Ezidkhan (or Êzîdxan, "Land of the Yazidis") is the name of the settlement areas of the Yazidis. The term is used for historical settlement areas of the Yazidis and also currently inhabited settlement areas by the Yazidis. After the formation of Yezidi Peshmerga in response to the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the term 'Ezidkhan' experienced a greater usage. In October 2015 the Yekîneyên Parastina Jin ê Şengalê or YPJ-Sinjar (Women's Defense Units of Sinjar) changed its name to Yekinêyen Jinên Êzidxan or YJÊ (Ezidkhan Women's Units). And in November 2015 the Hêza Parastina Şingal or HPŞ (Protection Force of Sinjar) changed its name to Hêza Parastina Êzîdxanê or HPÊ (Protection Force of Ezidkhan).Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, calling itself Islamic State) is recognized by the United Nations as the perpetrator of a genocide of Yazidis in Iraq. The genocide led to the expulsion, flight and effective exile of the Yazidis from their ancestral lands in Northern Iraq whose women and girls were forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State and whose men were killed by the thousands. The genocide led to the abduction of Yazidi women and massacres that killed five thousand Yazidi civilians during what has been called a "forced conversion campaign" being carried out in Northern Iraq by ISIL, starting in 2014. The genocide could only happen because the Kurdish Peshmerga had fled from the ISIS and left the Yazidis defenseless.ISIL's persecution of the Yazidis gained international attention and led to the American-led intervention in Iraq, which started with United States airstrikes against ISIL. Additionally, the US, UK, and Australia made emergency airdrops to Yazidis who had fled to a mountain range and provided weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga who had a role in defending the Yazidis, together with PKK and YPG forces. ISIL's actions against the Yazidi population have resulted in approximately 500,000 refugees and several thousand killed and kidnapped. The Yazidis have also had their human rights violated by terrorist organizations who began killing the Yazidis. The effects of the genocide have impacted other communities of Yazidis, especially in Germany.Human rights in ISIL-controlled territory
The state of human rights in territories controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is considered to be one of the worst in modern history, and has been criticised by many political, religious and other organisations and individuals. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has stated that ISIL "seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey".Kurds in France
Kurds in France may refer to people born in or residing in France of full or partial Kurdish origin.
There is a large Kurdish community in France, numbering around 150,000 people. This makes the Kurdish community in France the second largest Kurdish community in the Kurdish diaspora, after Germany.Nadia Murad
Nadia Murad Basee Taha (Arabic: نادية مراد باسي طه; born 1993) is an Iraqi Yazidi human rights activist who lives in Germany. In 2014 she was kidnapped from her hometown Kocho and held by the Islamic State for three months.In 2018, she and Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict". She is the first Iraqi and Yazidi to be awarded a Nobel prize.Murad is the founder of Nadia's Initiative, an organization dedicated to "helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities".Rya Taza
Rya Taza (Armenian: Ռյա Թազա) or Ria Taza (meaning "new way" in Kurmanji), is a village in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia. It was formerly known as Kondakhsaz. Most residents of Rya Taza are Yazidis. The village is home to a ruined Armenian church built between the 10th and 13th centuries. It also contains an old cemetery with animal-shaped tombstones.Sinjar
Sinjar, also known as Shingal (Arabic: سنجار, Kurmanji: Şingal or Şengal, Ancient Greek: Singara), is a town in Shingal District, Nineveh Province, Iraq near Mount Shingal. Its population in 2013 was estimated at 88,023.Sinjar Mountains
The Sinjar Mountains (Arabic: جبل سنجار jabal Sinjār; Kurdish: Çiyayên Şengalê چیای شەنگال/شەنگار; also Shingal\Shengar Mountains) are a 100-kilometre-long (62 mi) mountain range that runs east to west, rising above the surrounding alluvial steppe plains in northwestern Iraq to an elevation of 1,463 meters (4,800 ft). The highest segment of these mountains, about 75 km (47 mi) long, lies in the Nineveh Governorate. The western and lower segment of these mountains lies in Syria and is about 25 km (16 mi) long. The city of Sinjar is just south of the range. These mountains are regarded as sacred by the Yazidis.Sinjar massacre
The Sinjar massacre was the genocidal killing and abduction of thousands of Yazidi men in Sinjar (Kurdish: شنگال Şingal) city and Sinjar District in Iraq's Nineveh Governorate by the Islamic terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in August 2014. This event started with ISIL attacking and capturing Sinjar and neighboring towns on 3 August, during ISIL's offensive in early August 2014.
Dr Noori Abdulrahman, head of the Department of Coordination and Follow-up of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, stated that ISIL's 3 August campaign against Sinjar was more about demography and strategy than about religion. According to Abdulrahman, ISIL wanted to push most of the Kurds out of strategic Yazidi areas and bring in Arabs, obedient to ISIL.On 8 August 2014, the United States reacted with airstrikes on ISIL units and convoys in northern Iraq, which led to a war of several countries against ISIL. The assistance of PKK and YPG enabled the majority of the 50,000 Yazidis who fled into the Sinjar Mountains to be evacuated.
On 17 December 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga, PKK and YPG forces started the December 2014 Sinjar offensive with the support of US airstrikes. This offensive broke ISIS's troop transport routes and supply lines between of the largest cities ISIS controlled in Iraq and Syria at the time, Mosul and Raqqa.Yazidis in Armenia
Yazidis in Armenia (Armenian: Եզդիներ Yezdiner, Kurmanji: Êzidî, Yezidi, Russian: Езиды Yezidi) are a subgroup of Yazidis settled in Armenia, where they form the largest ethnic minority. They are well integrated into the Armenian society, with freedom of religion and non-interference in their cultural traditions.Yazidis in Germany
Yazidis in Germany may refer to people born in or residing in Germany of full or partial Yazidi origin.
There is a large Yazidi community in Germany, estimated to be numbering around 60,000 people. This makes the German Yazidi community one of the largest Yazidi communities in the Yazidi diaspora.Yazidis in Syria
Yazidis in Syria may refer to people born in or residing in Syria of full or partial Yazidi origin.
The Yazidi religion dates back to pre-Islamic times. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they migrated from southern Turkey and settled in their present mountainous stronghold of Jabal Sinjar in northeastern Syria and Iraq. Although some are scattered in Turkey and the Armenia, Iraq is the center of their religious life, the home of their Amir, and of the tomb of their most revered saint, Sheikh Adi. Once semi-nomadic, most Yazidis are settled, have no great chiefs, and speak the Kurmanji language.
Yazidis in 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 Yazidis in 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 Iraq War. Since 2014, some Yazidis of Iraq have entered Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria to escape the Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL.In 2014, there were about 70,000 Yazidis in Syria, primarily in the Al-Jazirah.
Yazidi diaspora and regions