Who are the Yazidis?

by on August 8, 2014 at 7:48 am in Current Affairs, History, Religion | Permalink

Their supreme being is known as Yasdan. He is considered to be on such an elevated level that he cannot be worshipped directly. He is considered a passive force, the Creator of the world, not the preserver. Seven great spirits emanate from him of which the greatest is the Peacock Angel known as Malak Taus – active executor of the divine will. The peacock in early Christianity was a symbol of immortality, because its flesh does not appear to decay. Malak Taus is considered God’s alter ego, inseparable from Him, and to that extent Yazidism is monotheistic.

There is more here, interesting throughout.

Michael G Heller August 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

Are these the crazy religious zealots who have finally roused the mighty Obama from torpor and turpitude? Hail the convenient distraction from Russia and the South China Sea.

RoyM August 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

Well since the plight of Shia, Druze, Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Mandeans, and those Sunni who just don’t want to live under salafist savages, as well as Kurds, Turkmen, and Circassians who happen to be Sunni, but are considered fair game for not being Arab,had not previously moved him, I say it is about time.

Somehow I don’t think any of this it will extend to the Qatari paymasters of this disaster.

reader of world events August 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

I missed the story about Vietnamese fishermen being killed by fundamentalists. Additionally, last I checked, Ukraine has a standing army and is reoccupying the eastern provinces.

Steve Sailer August 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm

“Peacock Angel” = “Lucifer”

The Yezidis feel that Lucifer has gotten a bad PR rap and he’s really a good guy.

This is all part of the widespread “Cult of the Angels” that probably predates the monotheistic faiths of the Middle East.

Larry Siegel August 9, 2014 at 4:49 am

I’m aware that some people consider them devil worshipers. Still, it would be nice to leave a few alive so we can find out. (If Lucifer, a fallen angel, isn’t the Devil then maybe they have a point.) While the Yazidis are very strange, all religions sound nutty when viewed from a rationalist perspective so let’s give them a break. They deserve one.

anon August 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

From the article:

The ongoing persecution in their heartland of the Mt Sinjar region west of Mosul is based on a misunderstanding of their name.

So IS is just a bunch of ignoramuses. Who knew?!?!?

dearieme August 8, 2014 at 9:02 am

A bunch of ignoramuses previously funded by the USA for Syrian duties.

RoyM August 8, 2014 at 9:13 am

As opposed to their persecution of every other religious group in Syria-Iraq. The Western fetish for attributing all evil to a lack of understanding is a terrible handicap.

ivvenalis August 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Obviously, the Yezidis should have just explained to them that Iblis/Satan isn’t really a bad guy, the whole refusing to bow down to Adam thing is just a miscommunication. These guys seem pretty reasonable, surely they will allow a small people to practice their way of life in peace, valuing diversity just like the Ottoman Empire and every other non-Western polity did historically.


See video for another example of a common misunderstanding: that being a fighting-age male who’s not Sunni Muslim that supports the long-term goal of establishing a renewed Caliphate is a capital crime.

ivvenalis August 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm


Here’s the uncensored video without sound. Good thing these gore sites are around otherwise I’d just to have to take this dumb limey broad’s word that this is all just a big misunderstanding.

dearieme August 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

“interesting throughout”: well, for anyone interested in loopy middle eastern religions.

Nylund August 8, 2014 at 9:30 am

Does that category include Judaism and Christianity?

dearieme August 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

You betcha. Zoroastrians too.

Student August 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Way I see it is that belief in science as opposed to god is equally silly. I mean if you dont believe in god you essentially believe one of two things.

1.) The universe is infinite and has always existed (either in a state of singularity prior to the big bang or bouncing back and forth between collapsing to a singularity and expanding outwards forever); or
2.) The universe (matter and energy) suddenly appeared out of nothingness a dozen or so billion years ago, and hence, that matter and energy can in fact be created out of nothing.

How is this superior to the belief in an infinite god that always existed and created existence in some type of beginning?

Engineer August 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

How is this superior to the belief in an infinite god that always existed and created existence in some type of beginning?


Similarly silly: dogmatic assertion of Darwinism, scientific materialism, morality as evolutionary utility, the psyche as an expression of complex coincidences of molecular interactions etc. and then turning around and living your life as if there is actually such a thing as human distinctiveness, ethics and so on.

GKK August 8, 2014 at 4:48 pm

And i wonder about abiogenesis.

Student August 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I wonder why many people believe in it (when it’s basically unexplained and unknown) but at the same time dismiss god as irrational. Both, at this point, are just beliefs.

Paul August 8, 2014 at 11:04 am

The Big Bang theory is superior because there is evidence to support it and little evidence to refute it.

By contrast the Testaments (new and old) have some supporting evidence but quite a bit of contradicting evidence (strict interpretation on a 6 day creation, for starters).

As Laplace expained: we have no need for that hypothesis [of divine intervention].

Alternatively, the Catholic priest who formulated the idea of the Big Bang–Georges Lemaître– persuaded the pope that the Church shouldn’t weigh in on cosmological scientific findings, lest it embarrasses itself by injecting false or misleading hypotheses and conclusions. Pope Pius XII agreed. The implication for Lemaître being, again like Laplace, that science itself has sufficient explanatory power.

Of the two hypothesis: Big Bang vs Creationism, while the Big Bang seems counter-intuitive in many regards it is remarkably consistent with the evidence and is decidely the least silly proposition.

Engineer August 8, 2014 at 11:08 am

> Of the two hypothesis: Big Bang vs Creationism

They are the same thing. Or rather: creationism is the Big Bang plus teleology.

Student August 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

Believing in the big bang does not mean that you believe god doesn’t exist. Genesis is not a literal book (and creationist insistence that it is, is a big big mistake). Genesis simply means that God created existence. IMO, god did that through the big bang and the process of evolution. I agree, there is alot of evidence to support the big bang, but where did the material come from initially? The big bang fails to explain that at all. It just says that at a point in time, matter was all in one single infinitely dense point. How can matter be infinitely dense at a finite point in time? Doesn’t infinite mean that its density never stops getting denser? How then can matter exist in infinite density at a specific point in time? That is not possible, by definition. I say, god isnt bound to the laws of physics as my explanation. Without god, I suppose one must say that the universe isnt bound to to its own laws. If thats the case, I prefer to believe in god as at least that isnt internally inconsistent.

Paul August 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I’m abusing Einstein a bit but since you asked: “How then can matter exist in infinite density at a specific point in time?” The answer could simply be this: matter and energy are the same (related to some factor of the speed of light of which you may be aware of) and the earliest moments of the universe is incredibly alive with mathematics which invoke that relationship. The further back you go to that Big Bang moment, the more that relationship gets invoked.

You can say that God set it all in motion, but far from explaining it, it seems like giving up on an explanation. I’m not a quitter and neither has anyone else who in the past asked, “Why is it this way?” and wasn’t satisfied with the answer that God made it so. Science has a pretty good track record in pushing back the limits in which God is a necessary hyopthesis and considering that we are now asking questions that wouldn’t even occur to a person who had a religious experience in the years soon after 5BC, it’s not clear to me why those [nonreproducible, highly subjective and problematic] religious experiences need to be respected in these questions.

But, to be fair, I never really said there is no God, only that we have no need for that hypothesis. I’m agnostic on the matter.

dearieme August 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I’ve yet to see the argument that a god must exist connect in any way to the myriad gods people have actually worshiped. If a god must exist, does that mean that Odin exists? Zeus? ……

Student August 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Why does god existing have to connect to the myriad of gods people have worshipped? If gorilla’s exist, does that mean big foot exists? My point wasn’t to prove that god exists, that’s impossible. My point was that to believe the universe has always existed or that it appeared out of nowhere is just as irrational as a belief in god. All three make no sense, so laughing at the religious for being irrational is hypocritical IMO.

Out of curiosity, how do you know love exists?

Larry Siegel August 9, 2014 at 4:52 am

I believe, for the time being and with considerable skepticism, in whatever theory of the universe is best supported by the evidence we have available. It is not superior to the belief in a supernatural god; it is just different.

Nylund August 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

I don’t think it’s belief in an infinite god (or gods) that’s “loopy,” but rather the belief in all the details that surround people’s various notions of some particular god or another. It’s when you get to burning bushes or arguments about whether that God has three manifestations or seven, or if this God (or these gods) had children, and the details of how the kids were conceived. Then there is the dogmatic behavior of those who claim they know with more certainty what God is, what God wants us to say and do, etc.

In short, the general idea isn’t so loopy. It’s when you get into the details.

Student August 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

Can’t say I disagree but at the same time everyone can’t be right, right?

Invisible pink unicorn August 11, 2014 at 4:37 am

Way I see it is that belief in god as opposed to invisible pink unicorn – the creator of Universe is equally silly.

Student August 11, 2014 at 7:09 am

To each his own. As long as u realize its equally silly, we have an understanding.

J August 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm

You would think that if your religion were basically a linear combination of the two predominant religions to either side of you, that that fact would cause you to question whether yours is in fact the one true religion. But I guess not.

T. Shaw August 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

Do they bear any relation to Falsa Doom?

Israeli August 8, 2014 at 9:33 am

Bombing ISIS will lead to civilian casualties. If Obama truly had humanitarian concerns, he would be sending troops instead – like the Israelis did against Hamas.

randomworker August 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

Careful there. Poe’s Law is tricky.

Student August 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

This article misses the critical part of why ISIS wants to exterminate them and in fact makes a huge error when stating that Sunni’s misinterpret the Yazidis as worshiping the devil. Creation myths from both groups refer to the leading archangel that is told by god to bow down to adam (in other words the devil). In the Islamic/jewish/christian version, said angel refuses to bow to adam as he feels he is superior to a being made from “dust”. In the Islamic/jewish/christian version, that refusal is interpreted as a rejection of god, to which god reacts by throwing that angel (and his supporters) out of heaven. The angles response is one of antagonizing humans (i.e. trying to destroy/separate them from god). In the Yazidis version, god tests this archangel by telling him to bow to adam. The archangel refuses, thinking he is superior to adam (being created from the light of god whereas adam is made from the dust of the earth). God responds by praising the archangel and making him leader and his assistant in charge of all earthly matters.

So, ISIS see’s the Yazidis as devil worshipers, because they are in fact worshiping a being Christians/Muslims/Jews view as the devil. As an agnostic theist myself, I disagree with the Yazidi interpretation but ultimately realize that these things are both unreasonable and certainly unknowable events and are simply a matter of beliefs.

That said, it is pretty obvious which of these two parties is committing evil, and it isnt the “devil worshipers”.

marris August 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for posting this. I personally find these origin stories fascinating. I wonder if this was some kind of lost-in-translation/telephone-game confusion. E.g. some bard spreads the familiar Paradise Lost-style story and some repeater inserts stuff about repentance in his version…

Wolf August 8, 2014 at 10:09 am

Neocons who foolishly invaded iraq has blood on their hands.

T. Shaw August 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

Is English your “second” language?

DMS August 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm

That was not a required remark, T Shaw.

If in fact Wolf has imperfect skills — whether because English is a second language, poor education or was recovering from a hangover — so what? The meaning came across very clearly.

T. Shaw August 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Paraphrasing Stalin’s quip re: the Pope, “How many divisions, fighter-bombers, and Congressional votes did Paul Wolfowitz, et al have to use?”

Go back and review Hillary Rodham’s, Harry Reid’s, Nancy Pelosi’s, et al’s votes for the second Iraq war.

FYI, ISIS outgrew the US-backed/funded rebellion against the Baathist Assad regime.

ISIS has nothing to do with anything done by certain imbeciles’ favored chimera du jour.

Nyongesa August 9, 2014 at 12:42 am

“second language” “imbecilles” DMS makes an excellent point. A weak argument can easily be defeated without resorting to ad hominems, with the added bonus that you might actually adjust their assumptions therein.

reader of world events August 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

All ISIS wants to do is exercise their Hobby Lobby rights to practice their religion as they please.

T. Shaw August 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm

You’re correct. Except you need to replace “their religion” with “Islam.”

And, drop the “Hobby Lobby” false equivalency.

Jan August 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

Yup, sounds like a religion.

T. Shaw August 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Sounds like the religion: Islam.

Jan August 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

They are all nutso. Don’t get me started on Christianity.

Denier August 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Yeah, don’t get Jan started on Christianity. Who needs an intellectual dumpster fire on funday Friday?

Jan August 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I can see you’re a wise believer. I must have ruffled some closely held belief feathers. My bad!

ivvenalis August 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I like how this 750 word story doesn’t explain that the Yezidis agree with everyone else that Lucifer and the guy they worship are the same being, except that he’s just gotten a bad rap. I mean, that’s a pretty significant detail; I’ve always wondered how these guys managed to stay alive in the Middle East for as long as they have. At least they’re sufficiently non-mainstream enough that Western leftists are allowed to care about them.

The Anti-Gnostic August 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Hilarious. Islamic fundamentalists have been stringing up Christians for months. They threaten the Yazidis and now it’s personal! Order the airstrikes!

Once again, a group the US and its allies in the Houses of Saud and Thani armed and enabled in order to overthrow an anti-democratic government is setting its own agenda, and once again the US feels compelled to attack its former allies. And their militant leader will undoubtedly find a way to bring the fight here, as on 9/11/2001. Invade the world, invite the world. And whatever you do, don’t discriminate.

Tyler, of course, chooses to post on historical minutiae. There are absolutely no broader lessons to be drawn from these obscure, idiosyncratic events.

Nyongesa August 9, 2014 at 12:51 am

Take a complex series of cause and effects, pick and chose a connect the dots sequence that confirms your favourite logical argument, throw in a splash of irrlevant historical context, add two straw men, and kazaam……beat vigorously until righteous orgasm. Reality not included.

The Anti-Gnostic August 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

Right. It’s complicated. Only the geniuses in government and academe should think about this stuff, lest the rubes wonder why their tax dollars go to doing the same things with spectacularly bad results.

Student August 9, 2014 at 11:07 am

You talking about science or religion? Seems like both apply to your description.

Paul Germana August 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

Interesting. I serve Lord Krishna

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: