Persecution of Yazidis Kurds in Iraq

As has been related on many news channels, yesterday Iraqi extremists targeted and killed at least 175 people and injured at least 200 more near the Syrian border. Many of the dead and injured are from another minority pre-Islamic religious group that outsiders call Yazidis. From what I have been able to discover, their name for themselves is Ezidi which means in Kurdish "believer in God." Ezd means God or Angel in Kurdish.

Like the Mandaeans, they appear to have connections with old Gnostic traditions, perhaps even retaining elements from Manichaeism. They believe in one God but this God has seven assistant angels, the chief among them Ta'us Malak which is understood to mean "Peacock Angel," since Taus means "peacock" in Kurdish. But this must be a modern interpretation of an ancient Semitic or Persian name whose old meaning was not retained. I haven't worked out the possibilities yet, but I am certain that Taus did not originally mean peacock. Although God is one, he does not rule the world directly, but these angels do. At least one of the angels is female.

Another confusion arises over the word Shatan which has wrongly been assimilated by outsiders to Satan. Thus they are known as devil-worshipers. But the word is actually a Kurdish word that means "with the body of an angel".

This religion is a syncretistic religion. From what I have been able to discern, it has taken up certain aspects of ancient Persian religion, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I will continue to look into this religion and post more as I learn more. But for now, these latest attacks on minority religious populations in Iraq should be more incentive for legislation to be enacted NOW to help these refugees.