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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Apparently, because of his nationality, since Broyan is a Yezidi. In Armenia, there is a real Yezidi genocide, quiet and inconspicuous.
IS took the town last year after peshmerga forces allied with Barzani's KDP collapsed, leaving open to slaughter the minority Kurdish Yezidis, who follow a syncretic religion deemed heretical to hard-line Islamists.
minorities in the country, namely, Kurds, Yezidis, Assyrians, Russians, Greeks, Jews, Georgians, etc.
•The illegal seizure of Assyrian and Yezidi land, especially in the Nohadra (Duhok) province, the Arbil province and in the Assyrian city of Ankawa.
The head of the investigation mission to Iraq Suki Nagra said there was a "manifest pattern of killing that caused serious bodily and mental harm and also involved the forced transfer of children" in the case of the Yezidis. She added that "these attacks were aimed at destroying the Yezidi as a group, and this is why we say that Genocide may have been perpetrated by ISIL."
Scholars of religion, politics, and Iran survey religious communities besides mainstream Islamic in Kurdistan, covering Ahl-e Haqq (Yaresan/Kaka'i), Yezidis, Alevis, Sufi orders and Shabak, Jews, and Christians.
"Up to 600,000 people from religious minorities including Assyrians, Yezidis, Chaldeans, Christians are internally displaced and are now faced with the threat of ISIS in their 'ethnic cleansing' campaign.
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.
16, 2014, under the title, "Let Us Help Kurdistan Protect Yezidis and Christians, Our Values Depend on It." The contention: "Iraqi Kurdistan has received hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons fleeing the massacres of the jihadists of the Islamic State.
It was not a surprise that the small Iraqi minority found itself a target for fanatical Islamic State (IS) militants, who had reportedly carried out unspeakable crimes against Yezidis, driving them to Dohuk, Irbil and other northern Iraqi regions.
Left, Gertude Bell, aged 53, and, right, high priest of the Yezidis Ali Beg (seated) with others, photographed by Gertrude Bell in May 1909