Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Yazidi/Dasin of Iraq

Yazidi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyone think Iraq is a simple place?
The Yezidi or Yazidi (Kurdish; Êzidî) are adherents of a small Middle Eastern religion with ancient origins. They are primarily ethnic Kurds, and most Yazidis live near Mosul, Iraq with smaller communities in Syria, Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Armenia, and are estimated to number ca. 500,000 individuals in total.

There are also Yazidi refugees in Europe. The Yazidi worship Malak Ta’us, apparently a pre-Islamic peacock angel who has fallen into disgrace. Malak Ta’us has links to Mithraism and, through it, to Zoroastrianism. The Yazidi maintain a well-preserved culture, rich in traditions and customs.

In the region that is now Iraq, the Yazidi have been oppressed and labeled as devil worshippers for centuries. During the reign of Saddam Hussein, however, they were considered to be Arabs and maneuvered to oppose the Kurds, in order to tilt the ethnic balance in northern Iraq. Since the 2003 occupation of Iraq, the Kurds want the Yazidi to be recognized as ethnic Kurds.

The Yazidi’s own name for themselves is Dasin. While popular etymology connects the religion to the Umayyad khalif Yazid I (680-683), the name Yazidi is actually most likely derived from the Pahlavi (Middle Persian) word 'yezd,' meaning angel, probably in reference to Malak Ta’us.
The Pehlavi (Shah of Iran) family were said by their enemies to be closet Zoroastrians.

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