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YezidiMiddle Eastern religious community whose beliefs incorporate elements of ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism
, religion founded by Zoroaster, but with many later accretions. Scriptures
Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary].
..... Click the link for more information. , SufismSufism
, an umbrella term for the ascetic and mystical movements within Islam. While Sufism is said to have incorporated elements of Christian monasticism, gnosticism, and Indian mysticism, its origins are traced to forms of devotion and groups of penitents (zuhhad
..... Click the link for more information. , Christianity, ManichaeismManichaeism
, religion founded by Mani (c.216–c.276). Mani's Life
Mani (called Manes by the Greeks and Romans) was born near Baghdad, probably of Persian parents; his father may have been a member of the Mandaeans.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Judaism. Its members, numbering between 200,000 and one million, are mainly KurdsKurds
, a non-Arab Middle Eastern minority population that inhabits the region known as Kurdistan, an extensive plateau and mountain area, c.74,000 sq mi (191,660 sq km), in SW Asia, including parts of E Turkey, NE Iraq, and NW Iran and smaller sections of NE Syria and
..... Click the link for more information. living in and around MosulMosul
, Arab. al Mawsil, city (1987 pop. 664,221), provincial capital, N Iraq, on the Tigris River, opposite the ruins of Nineveh. It is the largest city in N Iraq and the third largest city in the country.
..... Click the link for more information. , N Iraq. There are smaller communities in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Georgia, and Armenia and, as a result of recent emigration due to persecution, in Germany and other Western countries.
The Yazidi, whose origins are obscure, believe in a monotheistic God who created the world and assigned its care to seven holy beings, or angels, led by the archangel Malak Ta'us, or the Peacock Angel, a fallen angel who repented and is venerated by the Yazidi. The story of Malak Ta'us, as well as his alternative name of Shaytan, have led Muslims and others to consider Yazidis devil worshippers. Their chief saint is a 12th-century mystic, Sheikh Adi bin Musafir, whose tomb at Lalesh (or Lalish), near Mosul, is the site of an annual pilgrimage and festival. Another important festival is the New Year, which falls in the spring.
The Yazidi have historically been an insular community with oral traditions; they marry among themselves, and do not accept outsiders into the faith through conversion. Long viewed with suspicion by non-Yazidi neighbors, the Yazidi have been the victims of persecutions throughout their history, and of numerous terrorist attacks in Iraq in recent years. In the Islamic StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information. (IS) offensive in Iraq begun in 2014 Yazidis were slaughtered, enslaved, or forcibly converted if they did not escape capture by IS forces; perhaps as many as 8,000 died.