Who Are The Yazidi People?

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

The Yazidi People have been in the news lately as one of the people that are being targeted by ISIS. But why? Who are these people? 

According to my research, the Yazidi are an ancient religious group that first emerged in Mesopotamia before eventually selling into modern day Kurdistan in 3,000 BCE. They believe that they were created separately from the rest of humanity — instead of being descended from Eve, they are descended from Adam. 

Their belief system seems to be the reason that they are being targeted now, and have been in the past. It is a mixture of ancient Iranian, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and (in its most basic form) states that God made the world and put 7 divine beings in charge of running it. The most important being was an angel who fell from grace, was forgiven, and returned back to heaven. 

The "fall from grace" part of this story is considered to be a little too similar to the story of how the Devil came to exist in other religions, and so (even though the angel is forgiven and goes back to heaven), these people are often considered to be devil worshippers. 

Because of this, and the fact that they are not considered to be "People of The Book" (following the Bible, Torah or Koran), they are not protected by Islamic Law and are in danger of being wiped out by extremist groups. 

BUT, as a culture, they seem to pose next to no threat. 

They live in segregated societies avoiding contact with outsiders, military service and formal education. They do not recruit new followers — you can only be born into this group and marry within it — and they have a small population of only between 700,000 to 800,000 people.  

They are small in number, peaceful, and not trying to convert anyone. 

It seems their only mistake is choosing to call home an area of the world where extremist groups are trying to eliminate any influences that they believe are a threat to their own beliefs.