Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 15, 2007

Iraq’s Yazidi sect shrinking rapidly

As Iraq celebrated the Id al-Fitr holiday, which ends the holy month of Ramadan, the Yazidi minority celebrated the Jema feast, a similar holiday, at a near empty shrine, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The sect has suffered great losses in Iraq this year. A suicide bomb in August killed around 500. Before that, there had been reports of assassinations and kidnappings. Both Arab and Kurdish Muslims have put pressure on the sect to convert to Islam.

“At least 70,000 Yazidis have fled the country,” the article says, citing Khairi Shankaly, the director of Yazidi affairs for the Kurdistan Regional Government. That figure constitutes nearly 15 percent of the some 500,000 Yazidis in Iraq.

“The Yazidi faith is rooted in religions that predate Christianity, and its beliefs are an amalgam of Christianity and Islam. Yazidis believe in God the creator and also revere the prophets that figure in Islam and Christianity. But the central figure of worship is an archangel who is often represented as a peacock,” the article explains.

For full article click here.

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