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In the Name of God بسم الله

Yazidi's Stone Yazidi Woman For Being With A Muslim

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In His Name, the Most High


Firstly; there are facts now emerging to suggest that the lady who was murdered had infact converted from Yazidisms to Islam, and as a result; can no longer be refered to as a Yazidi woman; and arguable could be classed as a martyr of sorts; possibly.

Secondly; for those who don't know what the Yazidi's are; I enclose some information; they have - contrary to the opinion of many who I have spoken to on this subejct - they have absolutely no link with Yazid ibn Muawiyyah ibn Abi Sufyaan.

More information on the Yazidi Sect can be found at: http://orvillejenkins.com/peoples/yazidi.html

The Yezidis -- An Angelic Sect

Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins

I sometimes get enquiries concerning the Yezidi people, associated with the Kurds. Some are puzzled when they cannot find the name Yezidi on a list of peoples.

Angelic Cults

The Yezidis may not show up on a peoples list, because they are a religious sect. The ones I know of are mostly Kurds, but there are Yezidis of other ethnicities also, according to various sources. (Refer to some of the linked websites at the end of this article.) One Yezidi has declared to me that all Yezidis are Kurds.

The Yezidis are one sect of a group of religions called The Cult of the Angels, or Yazdani. The word Yezidi also appears as Yazidi and the religion is referred to as Yezidism. Yazidi is obviously one form of the name Yazdani. Yazdan is also the Yezidi name for the Supreme Being.


There are two other major sects of the Yazdani. Most widely known is the Alevi or Alawi (from the name Ali), also called Nusayri (from the name Nazareth, related to Jesus as one of the avatars of the deity), or Qizilbash (meaning "Redheads," from a warrior group in medieval times so called because they wore red headdresses.

The Alevi are quite well known, because most of the Dimila (Dimili) Kurds are Alevi. The Arab Alawi in Syria are a branch of the same Alevism, Alawi being the Arabic form of the word and Alevi coming from the Turkish pronunciation.

The ethnicity and language of the Dimila and the religion of Alevism are associated with the group of over one million in Turkey, with perhaps that many more living in Germany. Some sources indicate a majority of the Kurds living in Germany are Dimila. Sources are uncertain of the total, but possibly 2.5 million total Dimli speakers in both countries.

Kirmanjki speakers also are Alevi, and are said to be the largest single ethnic group of Kurds outside traditional Kurdish areas. Figures are quite uncertain for the Kirmanjki.


Another is Yarsani, or Ahl-i-Haq, meaning People of the Spirit. The word haq (hak) here is not from the Arabic haqq, meaning truth, but from the ancient Kurdish/Median word haq, meaning Universal Spirit.

You'll find these names in discussions of the Kurdish peoples, and sometimes they are used like an ethnic name, as are several of the small traditional or Islamic sects of the Kurds. Additional terms, also sometimes used by less-careful Western observers as ethnic names, refer to specific schools or spiritual disciplines of worship within these sects. One of these is Bektashi, associated with the Alevi.

Attempts to come to some clear standard for classification for academic purposes are complicated by factors such as the mix of languages, ethnicities, changing military and political alliances, sub-sects named after a certain avatar or ethnic leader at some point on history, and the rivalry between Kurdish clans. Often they have taken on another divine "avatar" (Bab) as an accomodation to the political pressures of another military or ethnic power.

Shia or Not?

Because they honor Ali as a deity or an avatar of the deity, some class these as sects of Islam, but they are eclectic traditional religions of the Kurds, which borrow freely from other religious motifs. Their relations with Shia, as well as Sunni, have more often been antagonistic. The various Cults of the Angels have been persecuted by both the Shia and Sunni through much of their history.

The root of all these Cults of the Angels is Zoroastrianism, and various ones have added influences from various regions over the centiuries. Some Kurds are still Zoroastrian also.


Those Yazidis who state they are not Kurds likely are indeed from other ethnic backgrounds. Self-distinction by ethnicity will likely be determined by the language spoken. There are many Arabs involved in the non-Islamic and semi-Islamic sects of Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

You will find in the materials of even the Yazidis that there is disagreement on whether they should be classified as Kurds or not. This is because as a religious sect they have members from several ethnicities. The trends in nationalism and tribalism seem to shift frequently in the region.

I have some classification notes on my article about the Kurds on my website:

The Kurdish Peoples (http://orvillejenkins.com/peoples/kurds.html)

Look under the column Religious Sects Associated with this People. The populations in this chart are not definitive. These were included only for comparative purposes as a helpful feature in identifying the ethnic groups. I have not tried to update them. The chart is illustrative of the ethnicities and language-religious mosaic of the Kurdish grouping of peoples.


Yazidis are sometimes classed with Zoroastrians, as they have retained from ancient times or re-borrowed some practices and concepts from the Zoroastrians. The name comes from the ancient city of Yazd in Iran, which still has an operating Fire Temple.

Others tie the name Yazidi to an old Avestan word yazata for "angel." It may be helpful to note here that the name the Yazidis use for the Supreme Being is Yazdan.

Yazidis would not be classified as Muslims except by a long stretch, though they accept Muhammad as one of the avatars of the deity. There are a lot of small semi-Islamic sects in "Kurdistan" and areas of the related countries which are not accepted by Sunni or Shia Muslims. Some are loosely associated with Shia. The sect of Yazidi is based on scriptures written in the 12th century by a Sufi mystic Sheikh Adi.

I once received an enquiry from a Kurd asking why I had left out the Yazidis. I did not discuss them in my analysis. He seemed satisfied when I replied directing his attention to the notations in the religious classification associated with the various ethnicities.

You'll find lots of Internet links of Yazidis, or Yazdis. There is also much in print on them, with some comment in works on the Kurds. I include links to key resources below.

Word Forms

One enquirer wrote, "You have mentioned 'Yazdani' Kurds. Is correct word 'Yazdani' or 'Yazidi' (I came across this in some writings)?"

I discuss Yazdani above as the general name for all the sects of the Cult of the Angels. Yazdani, and some other forms he mentions, are all forms of the same word, from the various languages. You will find various forms used and preferred in sources referenced in English from Kurdish languages, Turkish or Arabic sources. This is a religious designation, and is sometimes used in sources the same way the ethnic terms are used. Check the links below for more information.

Religions and Ethnicities

A researcher of my acquaintance reports that in a meeting in 2003 relating to Iraq, a discussion arose about a people group living around the Mosul area and referred to as "Yazidis." There are supposed to be about 1 million of them.

Just at the time I heard that, I had seen a news item about Yazidi people near Mosul, Iraq. They are referred to as a community in some news items, cultural references and other sources. The population of 1 million mentioned by some sources appears to refer to the Dimli, or Zaza, Kurds, who are Alevi.

Some lump the Yezidi and Alevi in one group, even interchanging the names. Much of this problem is due to Western writers trying to slot each name they know of into some standard Western categories of easy classification.

Sometimes sources use these names like ethnic names, sometimes like religious sect names. Sometimes this seems to be due to lack of awareness of the complexity of the matter, and in other cases it appaears to be an honest difference in perspectives between sources.

It is often hard to separate ethnicity from religious identity. Western writers often seem not to be aware of the relationship of ethnicity to religion. A general tendency to over-simplify the situations may add to the confusion. The problem is already complex enough with the biases from secondary Arabic, Turkish or Iranian sources, with the terms and categories they use from the outside looking into the Kurdish communities.

Kurdish or Not?

I found that the Yazidi sect in that area was associated with Kurdi (Sorani) as indicated in my Kurdish chart, but I have a suspicion that they are multilingual and some have other mother tongues. One Yazidi contact in Canada (Ottawa) declares that all Yezidis speak Kurmanji and none Sorani. He also states that all Yezidi are Kurdish (personal communication July 2005). He further states:

Yezidi Kurds live mainly in Shangal region of Iraqi Kurdistan around Mosul and Duhok, Efrin and Qamishlo cities in Kurdistan of Syria, Weransehir, Merdin, Midyat, Batman, Diyarbakir, Sirnax in Kurdistan of Turkey and Armenia, Georgia and Russia.

On the other hand, I got a differing report from another Canadian Yazidi correspondent. This man wrote me by email from London, Ontario, Yezidi Community Centre to declare that "the Yezidis are NOT Kurds neither Arabs. By both the Religion and the Ethnicity the Yezidis are Yezidis." He references the statistic that 82% of the attacks against the Yezidi community has come form the Kurds (personal communication May 2006).

Ethnicity as an Assertion of Uniqueness

This viewpoint is found in some Yazidi sources, as well as Dimili, where the uniqueness of a minority religious community is expressed in ethnic terms. This focuses on the community's sense of unity and uniqueness in self-identity, not necessarily on their language or historical or genetic origin. In the last three decades, this has become a more common maneuvre worldwide to overcome the persecution experienced by minority religious or ethnic groups in many countries has become to exert the claim for their ethnic (and thus usually their political) independence.

An interesting fact in this regard is that in history worldwide, the greatest fighting, ethnically or religiously, has been by closely related groups. For example, in the religious wars of Europe, the English government and majority religious group fought English minority religious groups, though all were English. The Lutherans did not come to perceive themselves as a separate themselves as a separate ethnicity from their Germanic tribes. They remained German, Danish or Swedish. But there came a leve of separation and new identity on one level.

Often, however, there is an ethnic component in religious difference. You see one version of this in the mnodern Mormons in Utah. And all ethnicities of the world are mixed and derived in some way. Thus there is an ethnic component in most religious categories. Some communities will emphasize their difference as a unique distinguishing characteristic, depite similarity in language or custom.

Ironically, the persecution and discrimination can create or enhance a new sense of unity and separate identity, actually strengthening the resolve of the oppressed community. This has the effect of casting them more in the role we usually consider "ethnicity." We see this in the declared self-identity of the Yezidi community in Canada associated with the London Yezidi Community Centre. For whatever reasons, this does not seem to be the case with the community or family associated with the other Yazidi source in Ottawa.

Differing Assertions

Like these two differing sources from different Yazidi families or communities in Canada, you will find differing expressions of the uniqueness of the Yazidis in contrast to their non-Yazidi neighbours: Arab, Kurd, Canadian or Iraqi. Different Internet Yazidi sources express different views on ethnicity in regard to the religious identity of Yazidis.

Some Arab sources in Iraq and print sources report that the Yezidis are Kurds, others report they are not. I have also seen both assertions from various Yezidi sources. Syria and the former Iraqi government have attempted to divide Kurdish power by declaring Yezidis to be a different, separate ethnic group from Kurds. As discussed above, some Yazidis are more comfortable with a separate ethnic, as well as religious, identity.

The Ottawa Canadian correspondent reports that Armenia also has an aggressive policy of differentiation, reportedly even funding Yezidi radio programs (personal communciation).

This is one of the vague and fuzzy aspects of the complicated concepts of identities and ethnicities (often further complicated by politics) and studies of them in that region. Fascinating and frustrating. If Iraq ever stabilizes, perhaps some curent surveying and updates can be done by specialists.

Source: http://orvillejenkins.com/peoples/yazidi.html

Whatever the case; ultimately what happened to the lady is barbaric, cruel, and completely un-Islamic. It is important that everyone realise; that this was more a cultural event and didn't really have much bearing on any religion at all - while there might be a link with Yazidism, this is more a cultural/ethnic link, than a religious one.

With Salaams and Dua's


Edited by shabbir.hassanally
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Haq Chaar Baap & Jai Shri Kishen Was Salaam

Why dont we view this from this angle as well, as it was a vulnerible minority community & had been facing victimisation & frustrating circumstances of various sorts :huh: , their patience broke down & this was the the last thing they would tolerate or put up with i.e a scandal involving a girl from their community , :Hijabi: not that I approve of the stoning but Im just conveying my understanding of the situation as opposed to conventional attitudes ( which have the potential of leaning on the brutal side).

Besides proof of the communitys victimsation lies in the recent truck bombing incident :angry: :cry: . Oh & by the way I saw on Tv footage of their shrine , and you know what i do like mountain top shrines & would like to pay it a visit if I get a chance. ^_^

Om Shanti Om Shanti Om

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