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the name given to those Kurds who profess the Yezidi religion. Of the 150,000 Yezidis (1969), most live in Iraq and Turkey; there are smaller numbers in Iran, Syria, and Soviet Transcaucasia. The founder of the Yezidis’ religion was Sheikh Adi (c. 1074-1164), whom they regard as their prophet. Their religion is syncretistic, containing elements of paganism, ancient Indo-Iranian beliefs, Judaism, Nestorian Christianity, and Islam. The Yezidis believe in one god and his emanation—the highest angel Melek Taus, who is depicted as a bronze or copper bird on a pedestal.

The Yezidis are divided into the laity, or murid, and the priesthood, orruhan, comprising the higher clergy (the emir, the sheikhs, and the pir) and the lower clergy (the kawwale and thekochak). The Yezidis’ doctrine is set forth in the Book of Revelation and the Black Book, written in a secret script. Their religious worship is distinctive in that they have no churches; their only place of pilgrimage is the tomb and sanctuary of Sheikh Adi at Lalesh, near the city of Mosul.


Vil’chevskii, O. L. “Ocherki po istorii ezidstva.” Ateist, 1930, no. 51.
Lescot, R. Enquete sur les Yesidis de Syrie et de Djebel Sindjar. Beirut, 1938.
Taufiq Wahby. The Yazīdīs Are Not Devil-worshippers. London, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
Yezidis and Christians are being exterminated by ISIS and this group of NGOs have regularly updated the UN with on-the-ground information regarding our communities and provided concrete policy recommendations.
8226;The illegal seizure of Assyrian and Yezidi land, especially in the Nohadra (Duhok) province, the Arbil province and in the Assyrian city of Ankawa.
10) Even more exotic was his first introduction to the Yezidis, a syncretic religion that incorporated elements of Islam, Sufism, Zoroastrianism, and local Kurdish practices.
He justified the abduction and selling of the girls as "right and proper" for Islam teaches that Yezidis should convert to Islam and those unmarried women should be married to Muslim men.
Stressing that all parties, including ISIL and associated armed groups, must abide by international humanitarian law, the Security Council condemned the systematic persecution of individuals from minority populations, such as Yezidis and Christians, and those who refuse its extremist ideology in Iraq by ISIL and associated armed groups.
Even in the Middle East itself, the Yezidis and their way of life have been an enigma, shrouded by mystery and mostly grasped through stereotypes and fictitious evidence.
The displaced minorities--Christians, Yezidis, Shiite Muslims and Sha-baks--sought refuge there from their besieged towns and villages, which fell to Islamic State militants in early August.
Left, Gertude Bell, aged 53, and, right, high priest of the Yezidis Ali Beg (seated) with others, photographed by Gertrude Bell in May 1909
Yezidis, Christians, Shabaks, and Mandaeans are all included under its Kurdistani banner.
The terrible position of Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq demands a clear and courageous stance from religious leaders, especially Muslims", the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said.
The situation for the stranded Yezidis is certainly desperate, and many innocent lives have been lost.
Today, however, the Yezidis are being pulled increasingly into the nationalist discourse taking place among the different ethnic groups in the region.