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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 are concentrated primarily in agricultural areas around Mount Aragats, northwest of the capital Yerevan.
She was privileged with very rare access to some of Yezidis culture's holiest sites and rituals, which continue to endure despite many attempts at eradication over the centuries.
According to the most recent estimates(1), 200,000 Yezidis live huddled in the isolated Kurdish valleys and mountains of the Near and Middle East, the Caucasus and the Transcaucasus, divided up among Turkey(2), Syria(3), Iran(4) and the ex-USSR(5) (Azerbaidjan, Armenia, Georgia and southern Russia(6)).
As the Peshmerga triumphantly routed Islamic State (IS) from Sinjar, in an operation personally overseen by Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani, the process of healing for the Yezidi community can finally begin.
Politician Feleknas Uca, who served 10 years in the European Parliament, has applied to represent the Yezidi community.
amp;Scaron;imonoviA said Yezidis were only given the option of converting or be killed, while members of other the religious and ethnic minorities, like Christians, Kaka'ee, Shabaks, Turkmen, Sabean Mendeans, suffer brutality.
We Muslims condemn the manner in which they are treating people of other faiths be they Christians or Yezidis.
We have striking evidence obtained from Yezidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs [of ISIS] have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar", he said.
military aircraft have dropped relief supplies to tens of thousands of Yezidis who have collected on the desert top of nearby Mount Sinjar.
In recent days, thousands of Yezidis were brutally killed and driven out of their homes as Sinjar was overrun, with thousands more stranded and dying of thirst and starvation in appalling conditions on Sinjar Mountain.
Thousands of Yezidis fled to the mountains to escape inevitable execution; however they are now stranded without access to food or water.