THE YAZIDI PEOPLE, SO FEW AND SO HATED!
In the beginning of February, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the war in Iraq. The conduct of the Islamic State (IS) against religious minorities was declared as genocide. Mostly affected are, besides Christians, the Yazidis.
The Sinjar mountains in north-east Iraq is the biggest of their traditional settlement areas. The siege of these mountains in August 2014 made international headlines, then.
About 100.000 Yazidis were trapped. It all ended with more than 7000 Yazidis killed, mostly children and elderly, and more than 3500 girls and women were captured. Although several of these captives have managed to escape or have been freed, most are still traded inside IS- territories, others are sold and exported to countries far away from their homeland.
Sister Hatune has travelled back and forward to the area since the fateful weeks in the summer of 2014.
“No one has heard so many cruel reports in such a short period of time as me!”
With this words Sister Hatune Dogan often starts her lectures about her meetings with Christian and Yazidi refugees in Iraq and now in Germany.
Nowadays most people have heard the terrible stories about the Yazidi girls, captured and held as sex slaves by some of the most brutal creatures the world ever seen. But there are many more dreadful stories, that need to be told!
Halaf Mirza is a 55-year-old man, who survived a mass execution of 79 men of his village, with seven bullets in his body. Teenagers have told, that they had to throw their own grandfathers and grandmothers into big fires, because they refused to convert to Islam! A young father lost 49 members of his family. In his captivity he saw a building, where IS terrorists used to chop their dead captives into pieces, like in a slaughterhouse.
A SACRED RIGHT TO HUMILIATE AND KILL
The members of IS seem to hold a special hate against the Yazidis and their traditions. A hate that is legalized through the Islamic canonic texts.
August 2014 is not the first genocide conducted against the Yazidis. Since many centuries, they are exposed to humiliation, persecution and extermination living in Muslim majority countries like Iraq, Syria, Turkey. While Jews and Christians can buy some security paying Dhimmi tax (Jiziya), because they are regarded as the “people of the book”, Yazidis, as unbelievers, idolaters, are people without any human rights under Islamic law (sharia).
That is why they are fair game, when they are captured. There is no moral impediment for IS taking Yazidi girls as sex slaves, because they are legal war captives in Muslim lands, “those whom your right hands possess”, as the Koran names them in sura 4:24. The modern, more idiomatic translation says: “those whom you own as slaves.”
A SMALL PEOPLE
There are about 800.000 Yazidis worldwide, half of them live scattered in the Western world, most of them in Germany. The Yazidis, as a people, has always been too little, to make demands for cultural recognition or even an own state. They are used to subordinate and have no other demands – or wishes – than to live in peace with their neighbors. Because of their long time experience being persecuted, they have not since many years made any political alliances. They know, that they will be betrayed, sooner or later.
The actual situation reveals their vulnerability, standing alone. The Sinjar area mostly is controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga militia. As Sunni Muslims, they rather collaborate with IS than with the Yazidis. Only the Kurdish PKK is helping them a bit. The truth is – unfortunately – that they are left alone by the world community.
Yazidi culture is mystic and archaic, full of contradictions and puzzles. When it all started is totally unclear. Some scholars say, that the culture is older than Christianity, others say it is only a thousand years old. There is also disagreements about whether the Yazidis are a people of their own, or if it is only a culture and religion.
As an outsider you maybe could say, “how can it be otherwise when the whole culture is an oral tradition, only transferred by poems and habits?” The first collection of Yazidi religious texts was written down by European scholars in 1911.
A SPECIAL PURITY
The religion is monotheistic and melds elements from Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of Iran.
There are many rituals, baptism, circumcision, a seven-day pilgrimage. There is a belief in heaven and hell as well as in reincarnation into a new body. There are severe rules about purity. For example it is forbidden to spit on the floor. Yazidis shall only marry with one another, otherwise they will be excommunicated automatically. Even spending much time with non- Yazidis is by many seen as critically.
In some cases, all this, leads to antiquated side effects, like honor killings, for example. Or husbands refuse to take back their wives, if they have been formerly sex slaves of IS because they are considered impure. When IS besieged Sinjar, many girls jumped from the highest rock into death, before getting caught. They grew up knowing, that their purity is everything in their society.
The Yazidis believe, that they all are descendants of Adam, not of Adam and Eve. Adam procreated them all with a virgin in heaven (huri). By that, the Yazidis deduct an exclusive claim to be a singular people and to have the only true religion. What unsurprisingly brings them into a severe conflict with their Muslim neighbors.
MANS FREE WILL AND RIGHT TO REASON
Before Adam, according to the Yazidi religion, the Creator made seven angels. The first one was Melek Taus, which means “God’s Angel.” He temporally fell from God’s favor, before his remorseful tears extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he was reconciled with God. Since then, he served as the middleman between God and the believers.
The myth of Melek Taus makes man into a being owning reason, who can decide between good and bad and is responsible for his own fate. This again is in strong contrast to Islam. Islam is a total fatalistic belief. In Islam man has no free will and no own reason – except to recognize Islam as the only possible reason.
In Islam, the figure of Melek Taus is a fallen angel, who rejected the true religion. He is identified with the devil. So, the Yazidis are not surprisingly called the ‘devil-worshippers.’ For Muslims, the devil is literally a hysterically negative charged figure. Therefore, the Yazidis receive a rank of special hate as the worst idolaters among the unbelievers (kufr).
The Quran describes this in plain clarity (37,22-23): “Gather those who committed wrong, their kinds, and what they used to worship (idols), other than Allah, and guide them to the path of hellfire.” These days, the Yazidis are on this path again.
The Yazidis name the Christians as their only friends since a long time. In countries like Iraq, Syria, Turkey, we Christians are in the same boat! We are all persecuted minorities.
That is the reason, why we want to help them, they have nobody else but us.
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