Category Archives: Zoroastrianism

An Anatolian Homeland For Indo-European?

That may be, but the part about “proto-Europeans” coming from the Lower Volga is bullshit. All archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and genetic evidence (not to mention, evidence from indigenous pagan religions/mythologies) point to an Anatolian origin of the Indo-Europeans.

During the LGM, European hunter-gatherer groups gathered in some refugia in South Central Europe (Iberia, Western Balkans, Ukraine…) Northern Europe was almost entirely covered in glacier, as were the Alps, Caucasus, Pyrenees, and other major mountain ranges.

After the LGM, the scant remnant of Upper Paleolithic survivors moved back north, but Southern Europe was depopulated, only to be repopulated again by Near Eastern agriculturalists at the dawn of the Neolithic. These agro-pastoralists from the Anatolian-Levantine refugium brought farming, livestock, and copper to Europe. Among the earliest farmers were the Anatolian proto-Indo-Europeans.

The Basques are probably remnants of the Mesolithic survivor population. The purest descendants of these Near Eastern settlers are the Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, and at least some Italians -also the Turks, who inhabit the PIE origin land – ironically Turks, who speak a non-Indo-European Altaic language, are probably more Indo-European than most Indo-European speakers, especially Brits or Indians.)

Of course, there were other migrations around that time. A people closely related to the Mongols expanded westward across Siberia, over the Urals and into Scandinavia, following the deglaciation. They introduced Uralic languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Lappish) into Europe, and the Lapps are their most direct descendants.

But we have strong reason to believe that Indo-European spread from the Near East (most likely North-Central Anatolia) chiefly due to agriculture, not from Western Europe (as some White Nationalists might believe) or from India/Pakistan (as many Hindu nationalists believe) or from Gimbutas’ fanciful Kurgan patriarchs (which Wikipedia deems as “official” and which you appear to take for granted).

[Actually, it surprises me that so many people take for granted some nutty hypothesis proposed by the Marxist-feminist Jewess Marija Gimbutas despite the lack of evidence or historical precedent. At least the Paleolithic Continuity Model is based on some evidence (albeit misinterpreted) and the Out-of-India hypothesis is based on understandable wishful thinking.]

Consider the following:

* As per your own model, virtually all Europeans cluster closely with each other and with Persians, Kurds, Caucasus folks, Jews, Turks, and some Semitic-speaking Levantines. Basques, North Africans, Arabs, and “West Asians” (i.e. Afghans) are minor outliers.

This interrelatedness suggests a strong demic diffusion and also implies that the stat that Europeans are 80% Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic remnants but only 20% Neolithic colonists is considerably off. How else do you explain that Europeans are generally closer to Iranians than to Basques?

* While Indo-Europeans are/were indeed fairly heavily male-dominated (Gimbutas was at least correct about this), this follows from a Near Eastern origin, as the Middle East was, and still is, very patriarchal. Ironically, Gimbutas located the homeland of those “evil patriarchal invaders” who decimated the “feminist utopia” that neolithic European society (allegedly) was in Scythia, which is believed to be the source of the Amazon legends…

* Indo-European languages show relatively strong affinities to Semitic languages, and probably Kartvelian and Pelasgian languages (the latter may have actually been Indo-European, related to Hittite), possibly Ligurian (probably Indo-European and related to both Celtic and Italic languages), and even Etruscan (controversially). No such closeness to Iberian (Basque), Ural-Altaic, or Dravidian languages.

* The oldest evidence of Indo-European languages comes from Anatolia (Hittite) and the Aegean (Greek in Linear B). Minoan (in Linear A) remains undeciphered and may have been related. Archaeological records demonstrate a settled native population.

* Even the pagan religions seem to cluster near the Anatolian centre. Zoroastrianism and the Indic religions both descend from the Indo-Aryan religion, but the Persian religion is more similar to ancient European religious traditions than the Dharmic faiths are (because Hinduism absorbed some Harappan/Dravidian pre-Aryan influences.)

Greco-Roman and Germanic religions were more alike than either was akin to Celtic (Druidic) paganism, the Celts being more matriarchal and probably influenced by relatives of the Basques in Western Europe and the British Isles.

All this points to an origin for Indo-European in Neolithic Anatolia, but you ae probably correct that the Aryans (Indo-Iranians, not blonde Germanic supermen) came into Iran and India via Central Asia. Most likely route being a clockwise migration around the Caspian Sea…

Excellent commentary, fascinating stuff.

I actually agree with an Anatolian homeland for PIE, however, I also agree with a secondary spread from the Lower Volga. So, things are complicated. In fact, I argue that Indo-European is actually Indo-Hittite, with Anatolian being so far removed from the rest that it is actually a sister to the rest of the family. Just a look at Hittite shows you how archaic it is compared to the rest of the family.

The part about the Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, and at least some Italians being the remnants of the original IE people is probably true. So, in a sense, these are really the “original Whites.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Nordicists.

Gimbutas’ theory has always ween a bit nutty. There were no ancient matriarchies. As a female friend once said, men have always ruled. Why? She answered, “Men are bigger, men are stronger, men push women around and make them do what they want them to do.” Well, of course, and women are too weak to fight back.

As it is now, as it’s always been. In gender relations, it’s the law of the jungle. I also feel that matriarchies might have been inherently unstable, as I’m not sure that “female rule” works very well. We are having enough problems with what matriarchy we have in the West.

Patriarchy or male rule is sort of a bad deal for women, but at least it seems to “work.” And I have noticed that women from patriarchal cultures seem to be happiest in their femininity and in general. The men are masculine, the women are feminine, and everyone’s happy.

The more women rule, the more miserable women seem to be, and men never seem to be happy under female rule. For one thing, oddly enough, female rule tends to make women act masculine and men act feminine. Neither is a normal role model, and I argue that the more masculine a woman is, the more unhappy she is, and the more feminine a man is, the more unhappy he is. That ‘s possibly because they are violating nature itself. When you do that, nature fights back, possibly by making you miserable.

Surely IE is related to Afro-Asiatic and Kartvelian, but I disagree that it is less related to Uralic or Altaic, and I also disagree that Uralic and Altaic represent some family. Ligurian and Pelasgian are probably IE, but no one knows what Etruscan is.

I definitely agree that almost all Europeans are quite close to Persians, Kurds, Caucasus folks, Jews, Turks, and some Semitic-speaking Levantines. It is interesting how close the Caucasians are to each other. Most Caucasians are much closer to each other than other major races are. There is much larger differentiation among NE and SE Asians, Aborigines, Papuans and for sure Africans than there is among Caucasians.

A lot of the rest of the post is rather over my head.

All around, a great comment. The rest of you may feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts or anything to add.

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Lizard Eating Mohammedans

Amy writes:

Reminds me of a memorable line from the 10th century Iranian poet Ferdowsi, who wrote that Arabs had been “drinkers of camel’s milk and eaters of lizards” before they aspired to conquer Iran.

Secular Iranian nationalists call Arabs “lizard eating Mohammedans.” It’s generally considered to be a racist sentiment. A lot of these types hate Islam, and quite a few of them lately call themselves Zoroastrians in a bow to Iran’s pre-Islamic past.

Iranian nationalists are funny folks. A lot of them really hate Jews, but at the same time they are secular. Why this is, I am not sure. A lot of them hate Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians, not matter what they think of Muslims. In general, they resent the intrusion of this White imperial colonial outpost in the Middle East.

Many are also supporters of Mossadegh, the nationalist overthrown by the CIA in 1953 which put in the Shah. Most hate the Shah too.

Shah supporters are not really Iranian nationalists. They are just typical wealthy rightwing elites cozying up to foreign powers for the cash. The Shah was not that great for Iran. He allowed foreign neo-colonial Western powers, as in the British, to take the lion’s share of Iranian oil. In return, he and his elite buddies got a cut of the loot. In Marxist terms, we call these types “compradors.” They generally oppose any national project and sell out to foreign exploiters for a cut of their own.

Some Iranian nationalists hate Islam (see the comment above) and see it as imposed by inferior barbarians on the superior Persian culture. Others are more neutral. There’s usually a lot of hatred for the West, mostly over the overthrow of Mossadegh and the support for the Shah. Israel is seen as a Western outpost.

I used to see them on Usenet a lot. Mag bar Israel! They would cry.

I am not sure to what extent the anti-Semitism is native to Iran. I suppose your average Iranian has always been fairly anti-Semitic. The more Muslim they are, the more anti-Semitic they were. I believe that Shia Islam actually formally sees Jews as literally unclean.

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Who Were the Aryans of the Vedas?

The Vedas were written no earlier than 3400 YBP. The latest Vedas were written ~2500 YBP. So the Vedas were written between 2500-3400 YBP.

Who were these people, where did they live, and what was their society like? Let’s have a brief overview of the Vedic Aryans.

They spoke a language called Vedic Sanskrit that produced a large volume of literature.

They had a patrilineal society with the beginnings of a class structure with nobles, priests/poets and the rest of the people. These later evolved into the Indian castes. They were organized in clans, tribes and tribal unions. The tribes were led by chiefs often nominated from the highest nobles. They engage in continuous warfare with each other and with the non-Aryan dasyu, mostly over land, cattle and water rights. The Arya are semi-nomadic cattle herders who also herd sheep, goats and horses. They engage in some minor agriculture as a sideline, mostly growing barley. For sports and in battle they use horse-drawn chariots and also a sort of all-terrain vehicle called a vipatha that can move over rough terrain.

They have a complex religious pantheon, including Gods of nature such as a wind God, a fire God Agni, female water gods, a father god in heaven and a mother god on Earth, and a goddess of dawn.

There are also moral gods of law and order and the typical warrior god Indra. The gods keep everything moving smoothly in heaven and on Earth. All of these deities, though are under a supreme deity, which is an active positive force of truth, Rta, later to evolve into the Hindu concept of Dharma. This force pervades the entire universe and controls all behavior of the gods and men. Every year, the gods battle their adversaries – the Asura, and every year, the gods win, for now. This dualism was later used by Zoroaster to create his dualistic religion, Zoroastrianism.

All of the gods but especially Indra and Agni are worshipped in elaborate rituals. These ceremonies occur at specific times of years, are lorded over by priests, and are public rather than private. The gods are invited to the ceremony, and the gods seat themselves on the grass next to the sacred fires. People then offer the gods meat or grain cakes and the drink Soma along with alcoholic beverages. Skilled poet orators entertain the gods with bardic poetry. These men compose hymns, often after deep concentration but sometimes right on the spot, meant to praise the nobility and invite the gods. The rites of passage as such for men involve a period of study of traditional knowledge after which they roam the countryside searching for some cattle with which they and start their capital. As soon as cattle are acquired, they are fully admitted into adult society and allowed to marry.

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What’s Going On In Iran? (With Emphasis on Iranian Nationalism and Iranian Secessionist Movements)

Repost from the old site.

Updated February 6, 2008:

Most people do not realize that the famed Shah of Iran was actually a blood and soil, Persian supremacist, ethnic nationalist, primordialist, volkisch, fascist along the same lines as Hitler’s Nazis and Milosevic’s Serbs. Yet it is true – in fact, the Shah even formed an alliance with Nazi Germany.

The Nazis attempted to form all sorts of alliances with people they mistakenly regarded as genetic inferiors – including Bosnian Muslims, Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs, Ukrainian, White Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian rightwing nationalists, Iranians and some of the upper-caste peoples of East India.

The East Indians, of course, are part of the original Aryans – the light-skinned invaders who descended from the steppes into India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at various times in the past 3,500 years. In India, they displaced the native Indians – the Dravidians or South Indians – and pushed them to South.

They also twisted the Hindu religion by adding on their casteism, which was apparently not present in the original pre-Aryan system. Originally, in the caste system, those at the top were the lightest-skinned and the lowest castes tended to be the darkest. It is interesting that over thousands of years the Brahmins have become progressively darker.

The Nazis were fascinated that these Brahmins regarded themselves as fellow Aryans and even sent researchers over to India to measure skulls and analyze the facial characteristics of statues and engage in other peculiarities of Nazi racial research. The Brahmin class of India has always returned the favor and many have long been supporters of Hitler, Nazism and fascism in general.

The fascinating article linked above deals with something that is little known to most Americans – a neat summary of many of the views expressed by what are best termed Iranian nationalists. Americans have no understanding at all of this ancient, proud culture.

The piece notes the Western deceit that modern nationalism began with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1600’s Europe, when the principle of inviolable national borders was first codified. In fact, this is a Western narcissistic view. Other nations, in particular Persians and Iranians, have a long history of what could be called nationalism, depending on how one defines the term, dating back maybe 2500 years to Cyrus the Great.

US idiots like George Bush and the council of clueless super-Zionist advisors whispering in his ear provoke this ancient culture at their peril.

The piece goes on to discuss the Minorities Question in modern Iran. Most people do not recognize that Persian and Iranian are not synonymous. Persian is an ethnic group, but Persians only constitute 51% of all Iranians. Azerbaijanis are a huge group in the northwest, constituting 23%.

US imperialism and Kurdish nationalism make much of Azerbaijanis supposed desire to break away from Iran, but there is not much truth to that. Those who say such things do not understand history. It is true that there is an Azerbaijani minority that invokes irredentism and wishes to break away from Iran and reunite with “northern Azerbaijan”, the independent state of Azerbaijan.

But the majority of Azerbaijanis have no desire to do such a thing. People do not understand that despite the racist Persian ethnic nationalism of the Shah, Azerbaijanis have typically ruled Iran for many centuries now. In fact the Supreme Jurisprudent Ayatollah Khameini is an Azerbaijani.

The Sassanid Empire was one of the most prominent empires in the world from 200-600, a rival to the Roman Empire. This culture, to many, represents the pinnacle of Iran’s power in the world. Its religion was Zoroastrianism and it was characterized by great tolerance towards religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews.

The Sassanids were defeated in the mid-650’s by invading Arab Muslim armies, many Iranians were put to the sword, and many Iranian nationalists have resented the resulting forced imposition of Islam ever since. According to these nationalists, there is a difference between those societies where Islam was “native” – supposedly Arab societies, and those where it was imposed by force – supposedly all non-Arab countries.

This greatly simplifies matters, and in many ways is false. For instance, Islam has deep roots in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Muslim India, Eastern China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Albania, Kosova, Bosnia, the Caucasus and in Sub-Saharan Africa.

So the case of Iran is not generalizable. In most cases, where Islam conquered non-Arab lands, many of the natives converted and become passionate Muslims. In fact, some of the world’s most ferocious and fundamentalist Muslims have traditionally come from non-Arab lands like Afghanistan and Pakistan. But in Iran, something different happened: Islam ran up against Persian nationalism.

To understand the conflict between Iranian nationalism and Islam is essential to understanding modern Iranian culture. The Khomeinists have enraged Iranian nationalists by declaring wholesale war on Iranian nationalism. According to the mullahs, there is no need for Iranian nationalism since Islam supplants it. Iranian nationalists are often theologically diverse, secular, atheists, agnostics, or even Zoroastrians.

Even worse, the mullahs seem to have imposed a pro-Arabism on Iran. This is sure to infuriate Iranian nationalists. Iranian nationalists have always had a resentful and bigoted attitudes towards Arabs (and some towards Muslims – who they regard as having a barbaric Arab religion).

When you hear an Iranian nationalist hurl an insult like “lizard-eating Mohammadens”, this is the rage they are mining. It is the rage at a primitive culture of desert barbarian wanderers – so barbaric, in fact, that they “ate lizards” – that invaded the glorious, superior, Sassanid Zoroastrian Empire and destroyed it, supplanting it with inferior Arab Islamic culture and religion.

The mullahs have not only waged war on symbols of Iranian nationalism, but they have also tried to import Arab culture and language, much to the fury of Iranian nationalists. Since, to Islamic fundamentalists, Arabic is the language of Islam (a bigoted and irrational construct on its face), they tend to promote Arab culture and language over native culture and language.

This tends to produce friction between Islamic fundamentalists and non-Arab nationalists in the non-Arab parts of the Muslim World. For instance, it is often difficult to find a copy of the Koran in any language other than Arabic. And many non-Arab Muslims claim that Arabs, especially Gulf Arabs, look down on them and despise them when they go Mecca on hajj.

The Arab chauvinism in Islam has been a long-term hindrance to spread of the religion. Furthermore, for centuries after the conquest of Islam, the greatest Iranian poets, authors and scientists – beloved by all Iranian nationalists – were ordered to be killed by the fundamentalist Islamic morons ruling Islam at the time. Few of these heroes of Iranian culture were killed, but the fact that their deaths were even condoned stings.

It is important to note that Shia Islam was also imposed at the point of the sword sometime later and many Sunni Iranians were put to death.

The remains of this violent religious imposition can be seen today, when one notes that Sunni Islam (Iran is only about 75% Shia Muslim) continues to hold sway in the outliers of the Iranian state – in the desolate Balochi barrens of the southeast, in the northeast near Afghanistan, and in wild, mountainous Iranian Kurdistan in the northwest.

All of these parts of the Iranian state remain largely outside of the regime’s control, and Sunnis continue to complain, legitimately, of discrimination by Iranian Shia Muslims.

The rage between Iranians and Arabs is difficult for outsiders to fathom, but is essential to understanding the region. Sunni Islam is synonymous with Arab identity and nationalism, as Juan Cole astutely notes, in the same way that White Christianity is synonymous with American nationalism. Hence, the secularism of Arab nationalists has always been a bit of a lie.

The Arab masses and regimes are Sunni. Shia minorities have traditionally been suppressed in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even in Lebanon. This is the root of the Sunni-Shia conflict that rages ferociously in Iraq today.

See here for a particularly bigoted and insane example of Sunni Iraqi bigotry from the interesting blog of a secular Iraqi woman. Note that she ridiculously claims that Shia Islam was invented by the Iranians to destroy the Sunni Islamic civilization of the Arabs.

I realize that sounds like the ravings of a mentally ill person, but this is how many Sunni Muslims, especially Sunni Arabs from Mesopotamia, the Gulf and the Levant, regard Iran and Shiism.

When we understand this sick, crazy, racist hatred, we can understand why Saddam attacked Iran, and why he was supported in that war by all of the states in the Arab peninsula. We can understand why the secular King of Jordan intones darkly about a “Shia Belt” snaking ominously from Iran, across Iraq, to Syria and Southern Lebanon under Hezbollah control.

We can understand the insane, Nazi-like massacres of crowds of Shia civilians – men, women and children of all ages – in Iraq by both the Sunni Islamist guerrilla animals and Saddam’s secular, Shia-hating fascist Arab nationalists. We can understand why the government of Yemen launched a murderous war on the Zaidi Shia of northern Yemen, who constitute 40% of Yemen but are locked out of the state.

We can understand why the Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf are supporting the preliminary plans for a US attack on Iran, and why these states and the Iraqi Sunni-Nazi rebels will stand up and cheer till they can’t talk if the US invades Iran. We can understand why the viciously racist Sunni Arab bigots of Iraq intone darkly, “We will never be ruled by the blackhats (the Shia)”.

While the Arab attitude towards Iran and the Shia has always been one of sheer, Nazi-like racist hatred, the Iranian attitude towards Arabs has tended to be one of the disdain of a supposedly superior people for a supposedly inferior one.

I have droned on enough on this subject, and we need to move on to the rest of the post. If you wish to dive into this fascinating matter further, click the link above and take a crash course in Iranian history, the minorities of Iran and modern-day Iranian nationalism. I hope you enjoyed this excursion.

April 7, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot and seriously wounded Hojatoleslam Yusef Mohammadi Soleimani, a top cleric who represents Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Centre for Higher Education here.

April 8, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: 6 armed Sunni Islamist guerrillas abducted Eshaq Nezamdoust, a local Iranian official who was in charge of distributing oil products here.

April 9, 2006

Iranshahr, Sistan-Balochistan Province: Sunni Islamist guerrillas shot dead 2 Iranian army officers here, Mostafa Ahmadi and Behzad Qolipour.

May 4, 2006

*****
Many of you are probably aware of the furor over Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the figurehead President of Iran, and his comments regarding Israel and the Holocaust. This much-distorted comments are grist for the propaganda for a campaign to get the US to wage a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, primarily for the benefit of the Zionist state in Israel.

If the US won’t do it, “mad dog” Israel says, then Mad Dog Israel herself may be forced to take matters into her own hand. Ahmadinejad shoots off his mouth quite a bit and says some dumb things, but it’s important to note that he is just a figurehead with little power. Remember when reformist Khatami had the same office as Ahmadinejad, and all the Iran-haters said that Khatami had no power anyway?

Well, shoot, Ahmadinejad has the same power as Khatami. If Khatami had no power than Ahmadinejad also has no power, logically speaking. In Iran, the office of the President seems to be mainly utilized these days to vent off steam from the unhappy population, to give them somewhere to channel their dissatisfied energies.

Ahmadinejad’s comments in question concern his purported remarks to “wipe Israel off the map” and his Holocaust denial. First of all, let us note that Holocaust denial in various forms is not unusual at all amongst Arabs and Muslims, especially Islamists.

Furthermore, many misguided non-genocidal persons on both the Right and Left, are caught up in the nonsense of Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Revisionism. Lamentable as it is, it does not necessarily make one a new Hitler.

As far as Ahmadinejad’s comments to wipe Israel off the map, Juan Cole makes clear that he was apparently paraphrasing Khomeini’s remarks from 25 years ago, when the Ayatollah compared Israel to the Shah’s regime, and said in poetic Persian that “the Occupation regime over Jerusalem shall vanish with the page of time”. Cole is adamant that there is no killing of anyone, much less military action, implied in that remark.

Nevertheless, led by the Jewish Lobby and their Gentile fellow travelers on the Fox TV circuit, the US neoconservatives have been hammering out a devious propaganda campaign designed to paint Ahmadinejad, and Iranian Muslims in general, as insane suicidal maniacs out to finish the work that Hitler started.

The supposed evidence is the Holocaust revisionist remarks and the “wipe Israel off the Earth” remark, which Cole has convincingly demonstrated that it is being misquoted. Supposedly, Ahmadinejad is a member of a Shia mystical sect that believes that the 12th Mahdi, or hidden Mahdi, who supposedly vanished on the site of holy Shia mosque in Samarra that was recently detonated by Al Qaeda, is going to return soon.

This religious belief is roughly analogous to the Christian crazies who think that the “end times” are here and Jesus is coming back soon. The common thread in both loony beliefs is that the world is coming to an end. Because Ahmadinejad believes in this nonsense and supports suicide bombers fighting the Zionist regime in Israel, the Israeli Lobby paints him, and an entire nation of Shia Muslims, as suicidal nutcases.

They want to get a nuclear bomb in order to suicidally fire it at Israel, which in the process will destroy Iran with the inevitable US and Israel nuclear retaliation. Clearly, this is a serious question: Is Iran actually capable of such an insane act? We can’t afford to be wrong about our answer here. I have thought about this for months now, and I do not believe that Iran or its leaders are suicidally insane.

I realize there are ominous consequences if I am wrong, including the deaths of maybe 100,000 Israeli Jews. But I am willing to stick my neck out here, just for the sake of argument. I would also like to take this time to argue passionately against any kind of lunatic US or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program, a disastrous idea with truly dangerous consequences.
******

May 13, 2006

****
Kerman Province, Between Kerman and Bam: Armed terrorists with the radical Sunni Islamist group Jundallah (Army of Allah) disguised themselves as cops and set up a roadblock on this highway deep inside Iran and stopped motorists and pulled them out of their vehicles. 11 males were lined up next to a ditch and executed. A 12th man was killed when another vehicle was sprayed with gunfire as it drove past.

A 12-year-old boy was wounded by gunfire, but instead of finishing him off, the terrorists strung him up on a power pylon. He survived, but was badly traumatized. Afterward, the terrorists fled into the Kofout Mountains southeast of Kerman.

The scene of the terrorist attack by Jundallah on the Kerman-Bam highway 130 miles from where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran come together. Terrorists set up a fake roadblock and murdered 12 civilians in cold blood here.

The murders stunned the nation, which despite its “terrorist” reputation, is actually a very safe country for travelers. Jundallah has its origins in the Sunni population of the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan.

The Sunnis here complain of discrimination and ethnic cleansing by Iranian Shia officials, charges which have a basis in fact. There are suggestions that Jundallah may be based over the border in Afghanistan, possibly in the wild deserts of Nawruz Province. Clearly, Jundallah has a safe haven in the area where Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan all come together. This is one of the more dangerous places on Earth.

Travelers heading there are advised to take a bodyguard, or preferably several bodyguards. None of the three governments in the region have much control over this area. It is overrun with drug traffickers (usually smuggling heroin or opium), who travel in large, very heavily-armed convoys.

They periodically fight it out with Iranian troops. Iranian troops have lost an incredible figure of hundreds of troops in just a few years fighting running battles in this border region with drug traffickers. Jundallah has links to Al Qaeda. In March, they killed 22 people in Zahedan, a very wild and dangerous city located where Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran all come together. Last year, the group beheaded an Iranian security officer.

Iranian officials say that Jundallah is the arm of Al Qaeda inside Iran, and they say that Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi is bin Laden’s right hand man in Iran. That is probably correct.
*****

May 15, 2006

Kerman Province: Iranian Basij and Revolutionary Guard paramilitaries tracked down and killed 10 terrorists who murdered 12 drivers in cold blood on the Kerman-Bam highway 130 miles from where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran come together (see May 13 entry for details).

May 19, 2006
****
Syria: Syrian officials arrested dozens of leaders of the various Shia Arab Ahwaz fronts who are waging guerrilla war in Iran’s oil-rich Ahwaz Province. I cannot support this struggle, which is simply designed to steal much of Iran’s oil wealth. However, the Arabs in this region fought bravely in the Iran-Iraq War and suffered heavy casualties.

They complain that they do not see much of the oil wealth in this region. The area was heavily damaged in the war, and the Iranian government hasn’t even rebuilt it very much. The Arabs also complain of discrimination. There is some truth to all of this, but one of Iran’s top military leaders is an Ahwaz Arab.

If Iran had any sense, they would institute affirmative action to hire Ahwaz Arabs, rebuild the Ahwaz region and let the area see much more of their present share of the wealth. This conflict has always been fed by Arab nationalist fascists like the Baath fascists in Iraq, whose hatred of Iran borders on the insane and pathological.

Furthermore, in recent days, US and British Special Forces and intelligence are in the region assisting the insurgency. By arresting most of the top leaders of the insurgency, Syria is spitting in the eyes of Arab nationalist bigots all over the Arab World, and is throwing its lot in with Shia solidarity (Syria is ruled by a Shia sect) and Syria’s alliance with Iran.
*****

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Are Iranians White?

It’s certainly a reasonable question, as White nationalists in general answer a resounding “No!” to that question. But even they are funny. Stormfront threw out 300 Armenians on the grounds that they were non-White. They have a Pan-Europeanist policy, which is one of the few noble things about that site.

A very White European-looking Iranian woman. I don't know what the getup is, maybe a traditional costume.

Recently there a lot of Iranians on the site, and though Iranians are not specifically cited as either White or non-White by Stormfront, there has been a hands-off policy about them, and the Stormfronters are letting the Iranians in with little discussion about the issue.

Iranians are funny people. In 1978, I drove an ice cream truck for a living. There were a bunch of Iranians were who driving trucks too. We were all sort of budding capitalists. You lease the truck every day, buy your ice cream, mark it up, and hope for the best. A lot of us supplemented our incomes. The Iranians were very good at this, selling joints for $1 each mostly to the many Mexicans in the parks of Santa Ana (Santa Ana was a heavily Mexican city even 30 years ago).

Once at the end of the day (we lined up at the end of the day to have our coins rolled and get our payout in easy cash) I asked them if they were Arabs. They were adamant. “We are not Arabs!” Later I learned that they don’t like Arabs much. It’s a superior versus inferior thing. The Iranians think they are better and that the Arabs are inferior, a bunch of animals.

Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She is an ethnic Azeri.

At worst, Iranian nationalists call them “lizard eating Mohammadens.” Image is heathen Arab Muslims charging out of the deserts of Arabia to destroy the great and proud Iranian culture. And it’s true that the Muslims did devastate Iranian culture, but they did this to all non-Muslim cultures they encountered. After all they were Jahiliyyah or grounded in ignorance.

The modern Islamic state has reinstated this view, downplaying traditional Iranian culture, making Arabic practically a 2nd official language, etc., all of this infuriating Iranian nationalists.

The real hardcore Iranian nationalists often abandon Islam altogether and claim to be Zoroastrians, the true ancient religion of Iran.

The widely despised Ahmadinejad is not even an ethnic Persian.

Iranian nationalists are interesting people.

Iranian nationalists hate Arabs, so you might think they like Jews, but they hate Jews about as much as they hate Arabs. They especially hate Israel. “Mak bar Israel!” is a common cry on Iranian forms (“Death to Israel!”) And the guys yelling this stuff were older professional guys in their 40’s with young kids, secular, and while respectful of Islam, not very religious.

Why the hatred of Israel? Probably, if you are an Iranian nationalist, even a secular one, Israel is seen as your mortal enemy. That’s a logical assumption.

The harder-core Iranian nationalists also dislike Pan-Turkic types, since the Turanian lunatics usually claim some or all of Iran.

The saner Iranian nationalists hate not Arabs but Arab nationalism. Arab nationalism is funny. It’s Leftist, secular, supposedly anti-racist, but they are bristling with hatred for Iranians. Saddam Hussein’s Arab nationalist uncle, who profoundly effected his views, wrote a famous tract, somewhat humorously titled, Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Jews, Persians and Flies.

The hatred of Arabs towards Persians is similar to that of Gentiles towards Jews or Blacks towards Whites: resentment against a group that thinks they are superior. A common claim, similar to anti-Semitism, among Whites is, “The Iranians are trying to dominate the Arab World!” It’s true that the Iranians opposed Arab nationalism, but who could blame them? The Pan-Arabists were a bunch of anti-Iranian racist shits.

The famous Iranian reformer Khatami was a Persian. Honestly, take off the beard and the funny hat and he's just some White guy, maybe a professor from Germany.

What’s funny about this is that there are Iranian genes running all through the Arabs of the Levant, Mesopotamia and Arabia. It is particularly the case with the Mesopotamian Arabs. The Arab Shia in Southern Iraq have a lot of Iranian blood. One of the reasons Saddam persecuted them so harshly is he thought that they were Iranian fifth columnists. In general, it wasn’t really true, but there was reason to be concerned.

In recent years, as Iran and its Shia allies have turned into the greatest defenders of the Palestinians, the Arab nationalists are in a tough spot. They hate Iran, but how can they deny that Iran is the best defender of the Palestinians in the pitiful and sold-out Arab and Muslim world? There are particular conflicts with Hamas, a Sunni fundamentalist group which is strangely also pro-Iran, and Hezbollah, whose defense of the Palestinians puts the Sunni Arabs to shame.

These realities have forced the Sunnis into all sorts of cognitive dissonance that as usual does not make much sense.

I’ve known a few Iranians. They definitely look like White people. Their skin is often very pale White, especially the females (Why is that?). Some charts strangely enough put them right next to British, Danes and Norwegians genetically. No one knows what to make of it, but we were all together in Southern Russia 4,500 years ago. Some of us took off south to Iran, and others went into Europeans to constitute the modern Europeans. We are born of the same modern roots.

I’ve asked a few Iranians, “You’re White like us, right?” You might think they would get pissed, but they usually give an instant yes or break into a huge smile. They clearly consider themselves “Europeans outside or Europe.”

Aylar Lie, Iranian porn star from Norway. A lot of Iranian refugees are in Northern Europe for unknown reasons. There are quite a few in Norway. She has gotten death threats from Iranians in Norway due to her work. I've seen some of her movies. Not bad.

Scientifically, it’s an reasonable assumption.

Genetically, Iranians probably have little if any Black in them. Your average German has more Black in them than an Iranian. They do have some Asiatic genes, but probably not many.

The Iranians are actually an interesting link to populations further east. There is a close link between Italians and Iranians (Italians are probably the closest Europeans to Iranians) and then there is another close link between Iranians and Indians, especially North Indians.

So the linkage goes like this (all groups separated by only one arrow are closely linked, but groups separated by more than one arrow are not so close):

Core Europeans -> Italians -> Iranians -> North Indians

So, neither core Europeans nor Italians are all that close to North Indians per se, they can become closer to them through this linkage process.

As you can see on this incredible map, Iranians are about as far from core North European Whites as Italians are. Amazing.

Iranian genes are common in the region, even outside of Arabia. Many Afghans have Iranian blood and it’s quite common in Pakistanis too. There is a lot of Iranian blood in the Caucasus. Most of your Chechen, Dagestani, Ingush, etc. types seem to derive from some sort of Iranian-Turkish mix. The Ossetians are actually a transplanted Iranian group living in Russia and speaking a language related to Iranian.

There is Iranian blood running through the Stans – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It’s probably most prominent in Tajikistan.

Persians are only 51% or Iran. Most would be surprised to learn that. The rest are Kurds, Azeris (27%), Arabs, Lurs, Mazandaris, Qashqai, Balochis, Gilakis, Turkmen and Talysh. There are also smaller groups such as Assyrians, Armenians, Georgians, Kazakhs, Chechens and Jews.

The Kurds and Balochis have serious separatist tendencies. The Arabs (Ahvaz) just fight for more rights as an oppressed minority. Azeri separatism has not really gone anywhere, since the Azeris are actually a dominant minority in Iran! The Talysh have separatist tendencies, but in Azerbaijan, not in Iran.

An Azeri from Azerbaijan. Most Azeris actually live outside of Azerbaijan in Iran. Many Azeris look very White, even more so than Iranians. Lot of blond hair and blue and green eyes. Interesting.

I don’t support the separatism of the Balochis and Kurds in Iran as long as Iran is under imperialist assault, but if this were not the case, I would think they deserve the right to self-determination. Iran is correct to suppress Arab separatism and the desire to take Iran’s oil and gas wealth with them to a separate state.

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Many Books, One Author

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga, 5:18;

Christianity: “All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them.” In Matthew 7:12;

Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Analects 15:23;

Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517;

Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Hadith;

Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara;

Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the law; all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a;

Zoroastrianism: “That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatsoever is not good for its own self.” Dadistan-I-Dinik, 94:5.

As a Theist of course, I say that that one author of those many books is God, the One, the Supreme.

And what is God?

Let us turn to the Kabbalah of the Jews (I paraphrase): God is endless, pure, White light, stretching for infinity in all directions. God is that which can never be known. In fact, God is that concept that is so beyond our understanding that we cannot even entertain it in our minds.

A famous cosmologist, astronomer and yet still a Theist, said, “God is hydrogen.” A Deist view, also summed up in what has been called the Deus Obtusa concept that many California Indians had pre-contact, is that God created the world, and he has not done much since. The Deus Obtusa concept is one of the “lazy God,” a creator who nevertheless plays little to no importance in our lives.

Lack of an active parental, law enforcement or judicial role does not mean that God lacks an intelligence or a spirit which cannot be tapped into. It can be, and that’s what the authors below did. God can also be seen as a manifestation of the spirit of pure Good or pure Righteousness in the Universe.

As Christians (and I am a Christian), this can help us to explain some things. Some wonder how Jesus was resurrected, and I believe he was. This is said to be unscientific. A friend who is a physician offers a response: “If one is tapped into God, then God can transcend physical laws, at least temporarily.”

Christianity and Hinduism are also compatible, since Hindus can follow any guru they wish. A friend of mine had a Hindu teacher who followed Jesus Christ as his guru. The Hindutvas will go insane if you mention that, since they hate Christianity, but I think it’s a cool concept.

According to this teacher, people like Jesus are missionaries from God. They are floating down from the spiritual world all the time, and they come to teach us things. I agree with this concept, and also that of Deux Obtusa. How can they be reconciled? If God only worked one day in his life, and has been a slacker ever since, how did he resurrect Jesus?

I figure God is like this guy who never gets old. He sleeps most of the time, and when he wakes up, he takes bong hits and drinks wine. Sort of like Robert Lindsay! He also does a few lines of coke sometimes, and he definitely loves psychedelics. Those are his favorite drugs of all, right? What else does God do, read the great books? What for? He’s already read em all, and he pretty much wrote most of them anyway.

He also spends a lot of his time screwing this hot young angel chicks. This is a cool metaphysics. In this way, whenever we hit the bong or drink some booze, we are essentially communing with God the same as kneeling in a pew on Sunday. I haven’t screwed any hot young chicks in a while (it gets harder as you age) but if I ever do again, I figure I can skip church the next four Sundays. After all, I just went to the Super Mass.

In this way, we turn the tables on traditional Christian no-fun morality, which never had much to do with Jesus anyway. Partying and screwing all you want are, instead of Evil, manifestations of the Good.

Every now and then God feels guilty for being such a good for nothing slacker, and he decides to get off his ass for once. That’s when he does stuff like resurrecting Jesus. Then he says screw it and goes back to Supreme Apathy. So, he intervened in our lives then, but he ain’t doing much now. That’s obvious. Look around the world. Obviously either no one’s in charge, or whoever is is a total asshole.

If God exists as a manifestation of pure Good or pure Righteousness in the Universe, then the Devil must exist too. The Devil, then, is simply the manifestation of pure Evil in the Universe. Since such evil exists the same as the good of God, if God exists, then so must the Devil.

One theory suggests that God and the Devil are necessary for each other. That is, one cannot exist without the other. Certain things existence, then, are related to the existence of their opposite. Their presence is defined by and necessitated by the existence of their opposite. The existence of a God requires the existence of His polar opposite, a Devil. The existence of a Devil requires the existence of his opposite, a God.

Taoism has a lot to say about complementary opposites requiring each other for their existence. Surely we only know what Good is, and how to define it, since we know what evil is. And we only know what Evil is since we can define good. Without the presence of their opposites, the terms are essentially undefinable.

Metaphysics class is dismissed!

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Filed under Buddhism, Christianity, Comparitive Religion, Confusionism, Daoism, Deism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Religion, Satanism, Zoroastrianism

Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil?

Repost from the old site. This is a very, very long piece, so be warned. But the subject, the Yezidi religious group, is extraordinarily complex, as I found out as I delved deeper and deeper into them.

They are still very mysterious and there is a lot of scholarly controversy around them, mostly because they will not let outsiders read their holy books. However, a copy of their holiest book was stolen about 100 years ago and has been analyzed by scholars.

I feel that the analysis below of the Yezidis (there are various competing analyses of them) best summarizes what they are all about, to the extent that such an eclectic group can even be defined at all. The piece is hard to understand at first, but if you are into this sort of thing, after you study it for a while, you can start to put it together. There are also lots of cool pics of devil and pagan religious art below, for those who are interested in such arcana.

See also the companion piece, The Yezidis, a Mysterious Kurdish Religious Sect. This piece was written two years after that one when I realized that the prior piece had barely touched the surface of this very strange religious sect.

The Yezidis, a Kurdish religious group in Iraq practicing an ancient religion, have been accused of being devil worshipers by local Muslims and also by many non-Muslims. I wrote about the Yezidis in depth in a previous post; see them for more background on these interesting people.

The Yezidis appeared in Western media in 2007 due to the stoning death of a Yezidi teenage girl who ran off with a Muslim man. The stoning was done by eight men from her village while another 1000 men watched and cheered them on. Afterward, there has been a lot of conflict between Muslim and Yezidi Kurds.

As Western media turned to the Yezidis, there has been some discussion here about their odd religion. For instance, though the local Muslims condemn them as devil worshipers, the Yezidis strongly deny this. So what’s the truth? The truth, as usual, is much more complicated.

The Yezidis believe that a Creator, or God, created a set of deities that we can call gods, angels or demons, depending on how you want to look at them. So, if we say that the Yezidis worship the devil, we could as well say that they worship angels. It all depends on how you view these deities.

In the history of religion, the gods of one religion are often seen as the devils of another. This is seen even today in the anti-Islamic discourse common amongst US neoconservatives, where the Muslim God is said to be a demonic god, and their prophet is said to be a devilish man.

Christian anti-Semites refer to the Old Testament God of the Jews as being an evil god. Orthodox Jews say that Jesus Christ is being boiled alive in semen in Hell for eternity.

At any rate, to the Yezidis, the main deity created by God is Malak Taus, who is represented by a peacock. Although Yezidis dissimulate about this, anyone who studies the religion closely will learn that Malak Taus is actually the Devil.

On the other hand, the Yezidis do not worship evil as modern-day Satanists do, so the Satanist fascination with the Yezidis is irrational. The Yezidis are a primitive people; agriculturalists with a strict moral code that they tend to follow in life. Why do they worship the Devil then?

First of all, we need to understand that before the Abrahamic religions, many polytheistic peoples worshiped gods of both good and evil, worshiping the gods of good so that good things may happen, and worshiping the gods of evil so that bad things may not happen. The Yezidis see God as a source of pure good, who is so good that there is no point in even worshiping him.

In this, they resemble Gnosticism, in which God was pure good and the material world and man were seen as polluted with such evil that the world was essentially an evil place. Men had only a tiny spark of good in them amidst a sea of evil, and the Gnostics tried to cultivate this spark.

This also resembles the magical Judaism of the Middle Ages (Kabbalism). The Kabbalists said that God was “that which cannot be known” (compare to the Yezidi belief that one cannot even pray to God), in fact, the concept of God was so ethereal to the Kabbalists that mere men could not even comprehend the very concept. A Kabbalist book says that God is “endless pure white light”. This comes close to my own view of what God is.

Compare to the Yezidi view that God “pure goodness”. The Yezidi view of God is quite complex. It is clear that he is at the top of the totem pole, yet their view of him is not the same as the gods of Christianity, Islam, Judaism or of the Greeks, although it is similar to Plato’s conception of the absolute.

Instead, it is similar to the Deists. God merely created the world. As far as the day to day running of things, that is actually up to the intermediary angels. However, there is one exception. Once a year, on New Years Day, God calls his angels together and hands the power over to the angel who is to descend to Earth.

In some ways similar to the Christian Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, the Yezidis believe that God is manifested in three forms.

An inscription of the Christian Trinity, the father, or God, as an old man with a beard; Jesus, a young man, and the Holy Ghost, here depicted as a winged creature similar to Malak Tus, the winged peacock angel. Compare to Yezidi reference for Šeiḫ ‘Adî, Yazid and Malak Tus (Father, Son and Holy Ghost)

The three forms are the peacock angel, Malak Tus; an old man, Šeiḫ ‘Adî (compare to the usual Christian portrayal in paintings of God as an old man with a long white beard); and a young man, Yazid (compare to the usual Christian paintings of Jesus as a healthy European-looking man with a beard and a beatific look – a similar look is seen in Shia portraits of Ali).

Since there is no way to talk to God, one must communicate with him through intermediaries (compare to intermediary saints like Mary in Catholicism and Ali in Shiism). The Devil is sort of a wall between the pure goodness of God and this admittedly imperfect world.

This is similar again to Gnosticism, where the pure good God created intermediaries called Aeons so that a world that includes evil (as our world does) could even exist in the first place. On the other hand, Malak Tus is seen my the Yezidis as neither an evil spirit nor a fallen angel, but as a divinity in his own right.

One wonders why the Malak Tus is represented by a bird. The answer is that worshiping birds is one of the oldest known forms of idol worship. It is even condemned in Deuteronomy 4: 16, 17: “Lest ye corrupt yourselves and make a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air.”

More likely, the peacock god is leftover from the ancient pagan bird-devil gods of the region. The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians both worshiped sacred devil-birds, and carvings of them can be seen on their temples. The Zoroastrians also worshiped a sort of devil-bird called a feroher.

A winged demon from ancient Assyria. Yezidism appears to have incorporated elements of ancient Babylonian and Assyrian religions, making it ultimately a very ancient religion. Note that devils often have wings like birds. Remember the flying monkey demons in the Wizard of Oz?

The pagan Phoenicians, Philistines and Samaritans worshiped a dove, and the early monotheistic Hebrews condemned the Samaritans for this idol-worship. The pagans of Mecca also worshiped a sacred dove. Pagan Arabian tribes also worshiped an eagle called Nasar.

What is truly odd is that peacocks are not native to the Yezidi region, but instead to the island of Sri Lanka. The Yezidis must have heard about this bird from travelers and incorporated it into their religion somehow.

In the Koran, both the Devil and the peacock were thrown out of Heaven down to Earth, with the Devil and the peacock both suffering similar punishments. So here we can see Islam associating the peacock with the Devil also.

In popular mythology, peacocks tend to represent pride. Note that the Koran says that the Devil was punished for excessive pride (compare with a similar Christian condemnation of excessive pride). Peacocks are problematic domestic fowl, and tend to tear up gardens, and so are associated with mischief.

The Yezidis revere Malak Tus to such a great extent that he is almost seen as one with God (compare the Catholic equation of Mary with Jesus, the Christian association of Jesus with God, and the Shia Muslim association of Ali with Mohammad).

Malak Tus was there from the start and will be there at the end, he has total control over the world, he is omniscient and omnipresent and he never changes. They do not allow anyone to say his name, as this seems to imply that he is degraded. Malak Tus is the King of the Angels, and he is ruling the Earth for a period of 10,000 years.

They also superstitiously avoid saying an word that resembles the word for Satan. When speaking Arabic, they refuse to use the Arabic shatt for river, as it sounds like the word for Satan. They substitute Kurdish ave instead. Compare this to the Kabbalist view of God as “that which can not even be comprehended (i.e., spoken) by man.

In addition to Malak Taus, there are six other angels: Izrafael, Jibrael, Michael, Nordael, Dardael, Shamnael, and Azazael. They were all at a meeting in Heaven when God told them that they would worship no one other than him. This worked for 40,000 years, until God mixed Earth, Air, Fire and Water to create Man, as Adam.

God told the seven angels to bow before Adam, and six agreed. Malak Taus refused, citing God’s order to obey only Him. Hence, Malak Taus was cast out of Heaven and became the Archangel of all the Angels. Compare this to the Christian and Muslim view of the Devil, the head of the angels, being thrown out of Heaven for the disobedience of excessive pride.

In the meantime, Malak Taus is said to have repented his sins and returned to God as an angel. So, yes, the Yezidis do worship the Devil, but in their religion, he is a good guy, not a bad guy. They are not a Satanic cult at all. In Sufism, the act of refusing to worship Adam (man) over God would be said to be a positive act, one of refusing to worship the created over the creator, as in Sufism, one is not to worship anything but God.

The Yezidis say that God created Adam and Eve, but when they were asked to produce their essences, Adam’s produced a boy, but Eve’s was full of insects and other unpleasant things. God decided that he would propagate humanity (the Yezidis) out of Adam alone, leaving Eve out of the picture. Specifically, he married Adam’s offspring to a houri.

We can see the traditional views of the Abrahamic religions of women as being sources of evil, tempters, sources of strife, conflict and other bad things. The Yezidis see themselves as different from all other humans. Whereas non-Yezidis are the products of Adam and Eve, Yezidis are the products of Adam alone.

Eve subsequently left the Garden of Eden, which allowed the world to be created. So, what the Abrahamic religions see as man’s greatest fall in the Garden, the Yezidis see as mankind’s greatest triumphs. The Yezidis feel that the rest of humanity of is descended from Ham, who mocked his father, God.

Compare this to the Abrahamic religions’ view of women as a source of corruption. Christians say that Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden, causing them to be tossed out. In Islam, women are regarded as such a source of temptation and fitna (dissension) that they are covered and often kept out of sight at all times. In Judaism, women’s hair is so tempting to men that they must shave it all off and wear wigs.

The Yezidis say they are descended directly from Adam, hence they are the Chosen People (compare to the Jewish view of themselves as “Chosen People”).

Yezidism being quite possible the present-day remains of the original religion of the Kurds, we must acknowledge that for the last 2000 years, the Yezidis have been fighting off other major religions. First Christianity came to the region.

As would be expected, the Nestorian Christians of Northern Iraq, or “Nasara” Christian apostates, as an older tradition saw them, hold that the Yezidis were originally Christians who left the faith to form a new sect. The Nestorians and other ancient Christian sects deny the human or dual nature of Jesus – instead seeing him as purely divine.

This is in contrast to another group also called “Nasara” in Koran – these being the early Jewish Christian sects such as the Ebionites, Nazarenes and Gnostics, who followed Jesus but denied his divine nature, believe only in the Book of Matthew, and retained many Jewish traditions, including revering the Jewish Torah, refusing to eat pork, keeping the Sabbath and circumcision.

Mohammad apparently based his interpretation of Christianity on these sects. The divinity of Jesus was denied in the Koran under Ebionite influence. The Koran criticizes Christians for believing in three Gods – God, Jesus and Mary – perhaps under the influence of what is called the “Marianistic heresy”. At the same time, the Koran confused human and divine qualities in Jesus due to Nestorian influence.

Finally, the Koran denied the crucifixion due to Gnostic influence, especially the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. The local Muslims, similarly, hold that the Yezidis are apostates, having originally been Muslims who left Islam to form a new religion.

There is considerable evidence that many Yezidis were formerly Christians, as the Christian story holds. Šeiḫ ’Adî, one of the tripartite of angels worshiped by the Yezidis, was a Sufi Muslim mystic from Northern Iraq in the 1100’s. He attracted many followers, including many Christians and some Muslims who left their faith to become Yezidis. Yezidism existed before Šeiḫ ’Adî, but in a different form.

Šeiḫ ’Adî also attracted many Persian Zoroastrians, who were withering under the boot of Muslim dhimmitude and occasional massacre in Iran. Šeiḫ ‘Adî (full name Šeiḫ ‘Adî Ibn Masafir Al-Hakkari) was a Muslim originally from Bait Far, in the Baalbeck region of the Bekaa Valley of what is now Eastern Lebanon.

He came to Mosul for spiritual reasons. He was said to be a very learned man, and many people started to follow him. After he built up quite a following, he retired to the mountains above Mosul where he built a monastery and lived as a hermit, spending much of his time in caves and caverns in the mountains with wild animals as his only guests.

His followers were said to worship him as a God and believed that in the afterlife, they would be together with him. He died in 1162 in the Hakkari region near Mosul. At the site of his death, the Yezidis erected a shrine and it became one of the holiest sites in the religion. However, Šeiḫ ’Adî is not the founder of Yezidism, as many believe. His life and thought just added to the many strains in this most syncretistic of religions.

The third deity in the pseudo-“Trinity” of the Yezidis is a young man named Yezid. They say they are all descended from this man, whom they often refer to as God, as they sometimes refer to Šeiḫ ’Adî. In Šeiḫ ’Adî’s temple, there are inscriptions to both Šeiḫ ’Adî and Yezid, each on opposing walls of the temple. In a corner of this temple, a fire, or actually a lamp, is kept burning all night, reminiscent of Zoroastrianism.

There is a lot of controversy about what the word Yezid in Yezidi stands for. The religion itself, in its modern form, probably grew out of followers of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, the 2nd Caliph in the Umayyad Dynasty of Caliphs. Yazid fought a battle against Mohammad’s grandson, Hussayn, in a battle for the succession of the Caliphate.

Hussayn’s followers were also the followers of Ali, the former caliph who was assassinated. The followers of Hussayn and Ali are today known as the Shia. The Sunni follow in the tradition of the Umayyads. In a battle in Karbala in 680, Hussayn and all his men were killed at Kufa and the women and children with them taken prisoner.

To the Shia, Yazid is the ultimate villain. Most Sunnis do not view him very favorably either, and regard the whole episode as emblematic of how badly the umma had fallen apart after Mohammad died.

Nevertheless, there had been groups of Sunnis who venerated Yazid Ibn Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan and the Umayyads in general in northern Iraq for some time even before Šeiḫ ’Adî appeared on the scene. Šeiḫ ’Adî himself was descended from the Umayyads.

Reverence for Yazid Ibn Muawiyah mixed with the veneration of Šeiḫ ’Adî in the early Yezidis. It was this, mixed in with the earlier pagan beliefs of the Semites and Iranians discussed elsewhere, along with a dollop of Christianity, that formed the base of modern Yezidism. But its ultimate roots are far more ancient. Yezidism had a base, but it was not yet formed in its modern version.

Here we turn to the etymology of the word Yezidi. It is possible that the figure of “Yezid”, the young man-God in the Yezidi trinity, represents Yazid Ibn Muawiyah. By the mid-1200’s, the local Muslims were getting upset about the Yezidis excessive devotion to these two men. In the mid-1400’s the local Muslims fought a large battle against the Yezidis.

To this day, the top Yezidi mirs are all related to the Umayyads. Muslim scholars say that Yezid bin Unaisa was the founder of the modern-day Yezidis. Bin Unaisa was one of the early followers of the Kharijites, an early fanatical fundamentalist sect that resembled our modern-day Al Qaeda and other takfiri Salafi-jihadi terrorists. Bin Unaisa was said to be a follower of the earliest Kharijites.

These were the first Kharijites. Early split-offs from Ali’s army, they took part in the Battle of Nahrawan against Ali’s forces outside Madaen in what is now the Triangle of Death in Iraq. In 661, the Kharijites assassinated Ali, one of the penultimate moments in the Sunni-Shia split.

At some point, bin Unaisa split from the Kharijites, except for one of their early followers who were following a sect Al-Abaḍia, founded by ‘Abd-Allah Ibn Ibad. He said that any Muslim who committed a great sin was an infidel. Considering his fundamentalist past, he developed some very unorthodox views for a Muslim.

He said that God would send a new prophet to Persia (one more Iranian connection with the Yezidis), that God would send down a message to be written by this prophet in a book, and that this prophet would leave Islam and follow the religion of the Sabeans or Mandeans. Nevertheless, he continued to hold some Kharijite beliefs, including that God alone should be worshiped and that all sins were forms of idolatry.

In line with this analysis, the first Yezidis were a Kharijite subsect. The fact that bin Unaisa said that the new prophet would follow Sabeanism implies that he himself either followed this religion at one time or had a high opinion of it.

Muslim historians mention three main Sabean sects. They seemed to have derived in part from the ancient pagan religion of Mesopotamia. They were polytheists who worshiped the stars. After the Islamic conquest, they referred to themselves as Sabeans in order to receive protection as one of the People of the Book (the Quran mentions Jews, Christians and Sabeans and People of the Book).

One of the Sabean sects was called Al-Ḫarbâniyah. They believed that God dwelt within things that were good and rational. He had one essence but many appearances, in other words. God was pure good, and could not make anything evil. Evil was either accidental or necessary for life, or caused by an evil force. They also believed in the transmigration of souls (reincarnation).

It is interesting that the beliefs of this sect of Sabeans resemble the views of modern Yezidis. So Yezîd bn Unaisa believed in God and the Resurrection Day, he probably respected angels and the stars, yet he was neither polytheistic nor a true follower of Mohammad.

At the same time, he lined himself up with those People of the Book who said that Mohammad was a prophet, yet did not follow him (in this respect, he was similar to Western non-Muslims who acknowledge Mohammad as the prophet of the Arabs).

Although most orthodox histories of the Yezidis leave it out, it seems clear at this point that Yezîd bn Unaisa was the founder of the Yezidi religion in its modern form and that the Yezidis got their name from Yezîd bn Unaisa. This much may have been lost to time, for the Yezidis themselves say that Yezidi comes from the Kurdish word Yezdan or Êzid meaning God.

After naming their movement after Yezîd bn Unaisa, the Yezidis learned of Šeiḫ ‘Adî’s reputation, and become his followers, along with many Muslims, Christians and Iranians.

Like their founder, the Yezidis believe in God and the Resurrection, expect a prophet from Iran, revere angels and stars, regard every sin as idolatry, respect Mohammad as a prophet yet do not follow him and at the same time pay no attention to Ali (recall that the early Kharijites assassinated Ali). Being opposed to both Mohammad and Ali, bn Unaisa is logically despised by both the Sunni and the Shia.

The fact that the Yezidis renounced the prophet of the Arabs (Mohammad) while expecting a new one from Iran logically appealed to a lot of Persians at the time. Hence, many former Zoroastrians, or fire-worshipers, from Iran joined the new religion, surely injecting their strains into this most syncretistic of religions.

There is good evidence that many Yezidis are former Christians. The Yezidis around Mosul go by the surname of Daseni, of Dawasen in the plural. It so happens that there was a Nestorian diocese in Mosul called Daseni, or Dasaniyat. It disappeared around the time of Šeiḫ ’Adî. The implication is that so many of its members became Yezidis that the Diocese folded.

Furthermore, many names of Yezidi villages are actually names in the Syriac (Christian) language, more evidence that many Yezidis are former Christians.

Adding even more weight to this theory, the Yezidis retain two Christian customs – the baptism and the Eucharist.

The Yezidis must baptize their children at the earliest possible age and the priest puts his hand on the child’s head as her performs the rite. Both customs mirror the Christian baptism precisely.

When a Yezidi couple marries, they go to a local Nestorian Church to partake of the Eucharist. The cup of wine they drink is called the cup of Isa (Jesus). The Yezidi have great respect for Christian saints and houses of worship, and kiss the doors and walls of churches when they enter them.

When a Yezidi woman goes to the home of her bridegroom on wedding day, she is supposed to visit every every religious temple along the way, even the churches. On the other hand, Yezidis never enter a mosque. Sadly, the Yezidi reverence for Christianity is not returned by the Eastern Christians, who despise the Yezidis as devil-worshipers.

They revere both Jesus and Mohammad as religious teachers, not as prophets. They have also survived via a hefty dose of taqqiya, or dissimulation, in this case pretending outwardly to be some species of Shia Muslims.

This is common for minority faiths around the region, including the Alawi and Druze, who have both proclaimed at the top of their lungs that they are Muslims and have hidden to the aspects of their religion which would cause the Muslims to disown them at best or kill them at worst. The primary Islamic influence on the Yezidis is actually Sufism, not Shiism per se.

There are traces of other religions – Hinduism may possibly be seen in the five Yezidi castes, from top to bottom – Pir, Shaikh, Kawal, Murabby, and Mureed (followers). Mureeds are about on a par with Dalits or Untouchables in Hinduism. Marriage across castes is strictly forbidden, as it has been disapproved in India.

On the other hand, pre-Islamic Iran also had a caste system, and the base of the Yezidi religion seems to be derived from Persian Zoroastrianism. The Yezidi, like the Druze and the Zoroastrians, do not accept converts, and like the Druze, think that they will be reincarnated as their own kind (Druze think they will be reincarnated as Druze; Yezidis think they will be reincarnated as Yezidis).

The Yezidis can be considered fire-worshipers in a sense; they obviously got this from the Zoroastrians. The Yezidis say, “Without fire, there would be no life.” This is true even in our modern era, if we substitute “electrical power” for fire, our lives would surely diminish. Even today, when Kurdish Muslims swear on an oath, they say, “I swear by this fire…”

Many say there is a resemblance between Malak Taus and the Assyrian God Tammuz, though whether the name Malak Taus is actually derived from Tammuz is much more problematic. Tammuz was married to the Assyrian moon goddess, Ishtar. But this connection is not born out by serious inquiry.

Ishtar the Goddess of the Moon, here represented as a bird goddess. Worship of birds is one of the oldest forms of pagan idolatry known to man. What is it about birds that made them worthy of worship by the ancients? The miracle of flight?

Where do the Yezidis come from? The Yezidis themselves say that they came from the area around Basra and the lower Euphrates, then migrated to Syria and then to Sinjar, Mosul and Kurdistan.

In addition to worshiping a bird-god, there are other traces of the pre-Islamic pagan religions of the Arabs in Yezidism.

They hold the number 7 sacred, a concept that traces back to the ancient Mesopotamians. The Yezidis have seven sanjaks, and each one has seven burners of the flame, their God created seven angels and the sculpture carved on the temple of Šeiḫ ’Adî has seven branches.

The Sabeans, another ancient religion of Mesopotamia who are now called star-worshipers by their detractors, also worshiped seven angels who guided the courses of seven planets – it is from this formulation that our seven days of the week are derived. In the ancient religion of Assyria, Ishtar descended through seven gates to the land of no return. The ancient Hebrews likewise utilized the number seven in their religion.

An ancient seven-armed candelabra, a symbol nowadays used in the Jewish religion, with demonic sea monsters drawn on the base.

The Yezidis worship the sun and moon at their rising and setting, following the ancient Ḥarranians, a people who lived long ago somewhere in northern Iraq. Sun-worship and moon-worship are some of the oldest religious practices of Man. The ancient pagans of Canaan worshiped the Sun.

At the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the religion practiced there had little in common with Talmudic Judaism of today. For instance, the horses of the Sun were worshiped at that temple (see II Kings 25: 5, 11). The ancient Judeans, who the modern-day Jews claim spiritual connection with, actually worshiped the “host of heaven” – the Sun, the Moon and the Planets. So much for “the original monotheists, eh?

In Babylonia, there were two temples to the Sun-God Shamas.

Another pre-Islamic Arab pagan belief is the belief in sacred wells and sanctuaries that contain them. The springs contain water that has curative powers. The holy water found at the Zamzam Well in Mecca is an example; even to this day, Muslims bottle the water and carry it off for this purpose. Often sacred clothes are used to make these pilgrimages, because ordinary clothes are thought to contaminate the holy site.

In pre-Islamic days, when the pagans circled the rock at the Kaaba, they were completely naked. In Islam, men and women are supposed to remove their clothing and wear a special garb as they circulate around the rock. In Mandeanism, both men and women go to the Mishkana, or tabernacle, take off their clothes, and bathe in the circular pool. Emerging, they put on the rasta, a ceremonial white garment.

At the temple of Šeiḫ ‘Adî, there is a sacred pool. The Yezidis throw coins, jewelry and other things into this pool as offerings. They think that Šeiḫ ‘Adî takes these things from time to time. And they must remove their clothes, bathe and wear a special garment when they visit the holy valley where this temple resides.

The ancient Arabs also worshiped trees. There were sacred trees at Nejran, Hadaibiya and Mecca. The pagans hung women’s ornaments, fine clothes, ostrich eggs, weapons and other items.

Similarly, the Yezidis also worship trees. They have their favorite trees, and sick people go to these trees and hang pieces of cloth on them, hoping to get well, and believe that whoever takes one of these down will get sick with whatever disease the person who hung the cloth had.

An inscription of a sacred tree from Ancient Babylonian civilization. Trees were worshiped not just in ancient Arabia; they were also worshiped in Mesopotamia.The Christian Trinity combined with the pagan Tree of Life, in an interesting ancient Chaldean inscription that combines pagan and Christian influences. The Tree of Life was also utilized in Kabbalism, Jewish mysticism from the Middle Ages. Nowadays the symbol is used by practitioners of both White and Black Magic. Radical Islam is committing genocide once again on the Christians of Iraq, including the Chaldeans.Yet another Tree of Life, this time from ancient Assyria, an ancient civilization in Mesopotamia. The concept of a tree of life is a pagan concept of ancient pedigree.

The ancient Meccans used to worship stones. At one point the population became so large that they had to move out of the valley where the Kaaba resided, so when they formed their new settlements, they took rocks from the holy place and piled them outside their settlements and made a sort of shrine out of these things, parading around the rock pile as they moved around the Kaaba.

In Palestine, there were sacred wells at Beersheba and Kadesh, a sacred tree at Shekem and a sacred rock at Bethel. As in animism, it was believed that divine powers or spirits inhabited these rocks, trees and springs. This tradition survives to this day in the folk religion of the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.

The Yezidis also have certain stones that they worship. They kiss these stones in reverence.

When the Yezidis reach the goal of their pilgrimage or hajj, they become very excited and start shouting. After fasting all day, they have a big celebration in the evenings, with singing and dancing and gorging on fine dishes.

This hajj, where they worship a spring under Šeiḫ ‘Adî’s tomb called Zamzam and then climb a mountain and shoot off guns, is obviously taken from the Muslim hajj. Mecca has a Zamzam Spring, and pilgrims climb Mount ‘Arafat on hajj.

The shouting, feasting, singing, dancing and general excitement is typical of a pagan festival. The non-Yezidi neighbors of the Yezidis claim that Yezidis engage in immoral behavior on this hajj. No one knows if this is true or not, but if they do, it may be similar to the festivals of the Kadeshes discussed in the Old Testament, where people engaged in licentious behavior in their temples.

Although the Yezidis have a strict moral code, observers say that they allow adultery if both parties are willing. That’s pretty open-minded for that part of the world.

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The Yezidis – A Mysterious Kurdish Religious Sect

About two years after the publication of this post, I wrote an update to this article, Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil? which goes into much more detail about the religion.

Since hardly anyone has any idea about who or what the Yezidis of Northern Iraq are, an introduction is in order. The Yezidis are a minority religious group that lives in Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey, Eastern Syria, Armenia, Northwestern Iran, Georgia, Russia and Germany.

Some estimates put the number of Yezidis at 100,000. However, Yezidi spokesmen say there are 600,000 Yezidis, mostly in Iraq. Other estimates put the number of Yezidis as high as 2 million. There are 10,000 Yezidi refugees in Germany. German Yezidis have created a home page to help introduce others to their religion, but unfortunately it is all in German.

The Yezidis are more of a religious than an ethnic grouping. All Yezidis are Kurds and they all speak Kurdish. In Iraq, most of them live north of Mosul and in the Sinjar Mountains near the Syrian border. There are also Yezidis in Tel Afar, Mosul and the city of Sinjar. Iraq’s Yezidis are seizing Iraq’s democratic moment to press for their rights for the first time.

Yezidis have long been persecuted by Muslims as heathens and devil-worshipers. Although it’s true that the Yezidis worship a peacock angel they call Lucifer, they are basically good, upstanding, moral people. They are not in any way analogous to the actual devil-worshipers who exist in the West, like Anton Levay’s Church of Satan (COS), etc.

Yezidis do not believe in Heaven or Hell and they do not regard Satan, who they regard as the Chief of the Angels, as evil. Instead, he is sacred. The Yezidis feel the Devil created the world and is de facto in charge right now. From the perspective of my life at the moment, those scenarios seem distinctly possible.

Yezidis are allowed to eat pork, unlike Muslims. But bizarrely, they cannot eat lettuce (because the Kurdish word for lettuce rhymes with their word for devil) or wear yellow. This dietary code is not often followed these days. The restriction on eating lettuce may have been due to outbreaks of E. Coli.

Like the Zoroastrians, Yezidis do not accept converts – a tendency which may result in the end of Yezidism with time. Yezidism shares many things with Zoroastrianism, and some commenters regard it as either a Zoroastrian sect or a religion with roots in Zoroastrianism.

My opinion is that a synthesis between Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism and pre-religious paganism is more accurate. It is likely the Yezidism predates all of these – Zoroastrianism, Islam and Judaism – in fact, it may be one of the oldest extant human religions.

Somewhat similar to the caste system of Hinduism, another ancient religion, Yezidis have seven levels of initiation, or classes. The classes are princes, sheiks, senators, seers, ascetics and the community of the faithful. The large faith community class makes up 70% of the community.

This split, with a small elite sect who retain most of the (oral) knowledge of the religion and a large majority of mere followers who are kept in the dark about most of the religion, is also similar to other “secret” religions in the area, including the Sabeans, the Druze and Alawi.

The Alawi of Syrian and Lebanon are a highly divergent Shia sect, a split-off from the extremist Nusairi split early in the history of Shiism. Although the Druze call themselves Muslims, it is probable that they are not Muslims at all, since their religion is so divergent. Instead, like Bahaism, the Druze religion is more properly considered to be related to Islam, rather than part of Islam proper.

The Druze date back to the 1100’s and also seem to be the result of a Shia split, similar to the split that birthed Alawism. Both sects persisted via extreme tribalism, refusing intermarriage, accepting no converts, keeping their religion secret, pretending to be Muslims to avoid persecution while still practicing the religion in secret, and especially, seeking shelter in the difficult, mountainous terrain of the Levant.

The Sabeans or Mandeans of Iraq are probably the last remains of the ancient Gnostic religion; they may also be former Diasporic Sephardic Jews who split off from Judaism in Iraq around the year 600. The Mandeans also worship the North Star, revere John the Baptist and consider Jesus Christ as the font of all evil on Earth!

In Yezidism, marriage across classes is strictly forbidden, again reminiscent of Hinduism. However, people do marry across caste nonetheless. Although the new Iraqi regime is basically a puppet regime of US colonialism, at least the Yezidis do have three members of the new Iraqi Parliament, all elected on the Kurdish list.

Saddam’s regime persecuted the Yezidis first for being Kurds and second for their religion as they were viewed as heathens. Yes, Saddam’s regime was not completely secular. Under Saddam’s extremely racist, fascist-like, Sunni Arab Nationalist regime, Yezidis, Kurds, Assyrians, Shia and Turkomen were all persecuted by the Ba’ath Party.

For instance, Assyrian Christians were denied an identity by the Baath and referred to as “Kurdish Christians”. The Baath forbade the use of the Assyrian or Turkoman languages in the schools. Yezidi religious studies have been banned in Iraq since 1963, the year of the Baathist coup.

In its censuses, Baathist Arab nationalist racists called the Yezidis “an Arabic people”, clearly a falsehood. Saddam’s racist Arab regime engaged in ethnic cleansing of the Yezidis on several occasions. Usually, the Yezidis were driven off their land onto other lands, and their land was given to nearby Arabs.

In 1978, 126 Yezidi villages in Sinjar were “collectivized” into 10 villages while 10 villages near Dahuk were destroyed and the villagers were forced into another village. The new villages created for the Yezidis lacked even basic health care, and it was hard to earn a living. Arab invaders who colonized Yezidi lands forbade the Yezidi from herding animals, and the new villages the Yezidis were pushed into lacked decent pasture.

In 1997, two Yezidi teachers from Elqush were arrested by Saddam’s intelligence services and tortured until they agreed to stop teaching the Yezidi religion.

In the same year, in Ayn Sufna, Baathists stole 1,500 Yezidi properties and gave them to Arab and Kurdish tribes in the region. Saddam’s army surrounded a Yezidi village in 2000, but left after the Yezidis staged a defiant demonstration.

In the no-fly zones formed by the allies in the Kurdish Regional Government area of Iraq instituted after the Gulf War, the Yezidis have fared much better than they did under Saddam.

They liberated many villages that were seized by Arab colonists and today in school, classes in the Yezidi religion are even taught in areas where there are good numbers of Yezidi pupils. However, since the US invasion, the Yezidi situation in some ways has worsened.

The entire north of Iraq has come under the control of Kurdish racist fascist parties, the KDP and PUK. These parties are lately promoting a sort of Kurdish Sunni racism which attacks Sunni and Shia Arabs, Shia, Christian and Yezidi Kurds and Assyrian Christians – in short, everyone who is not a Sunni Kurd.

The racist Sunni Kurds succeeded in preventing large numbers of all of these groups from voting in the election in February 2005.

In the case of the Yezidis, Kurdish racists never even allowed polling stations to open in a number of Yezidi zones. Racist Sunni Kurds have been attacking and ethnically cleansing Assyrian Christian villages in the north for decades now, a process which accelerated when the Allies granted the Kurds their Kurdish Zone in 1991.

This is a continuation of long-standing Kurdish Sunni Muslim racism against Assyrian Christians extending back to the 1920’s. In that decade, Kurdish Muslims gleefully slaughtered huge numbers of Assyrians in a naked display of Islamist bigotry that reached genocidal proportions.

Formally, the Yezidi religion was founded in the 1100’s by Sheikh Uday bin Masafel al-Amawi. Uday was born in Damascus but died in Shaikan in northern Iraq. His tomb in Shaikan is now Yezidism’s holiest site. As noted above, many scholars trace Yezidism to one of the world’s oldest extant religions, Zoroastrianism, founded in ancient Persia.

Traditionally, Yezidism is variously regarded as either an offshoot of Zoroastrianism or Shia Islam. Those who say the Yezidis are Shia hold that they are an extreme Shia “Sevener” Ismaili sect similar to the Druze and the Alawi (see discussion of the Alawi and Druze above).

A better analysis is to regard Yezidism as a syncretic mix between Zoroastrianism and Shia Islam.

Others note Judaic traits in the Yezidis; some suggest that the Yezidis are former Jews who broke away from Judaism and formed a new religion. Indeed, some theorists that the Kurds in general are former Jews. See Rabbi Joe Katz’s Eretzyisroel site for more on that interesting theory, which may have some validity.

The best analysis would leaven the Zoroastrian-Shia syncretism of Yezidism with dollops of Judaism and tablespoons of ancient paganism, while noting the Yezidism is probably older than any of its parts, except for the pagan.

Oddly enough, the Yezidis have a monk and nun class, men and women who dress in white and have taken a vow of celibacy. Yezidis are also said to be sun worshipers, in another similarity with Zoroastrianism.

A famous Yezidi, Sharfadin, has a tomb in Sinjar. Sharfadin also serves as a personified sun god. Note that sun-worship is one of the most ancient of human religious tenets, dating back to the Egyptians and probably beyond.

The leader of the Yezidis is a prince called mir, or mireh shekha. The Yezidi religion is passed down orally through families and officially, there are no Yezidi religious texts. However, closer analysis seems to reveal that there are a couple of Yezidi holy books, but they are hidden by followers, and their existence is denied to outsiders.

Outsiders have somehow managed to get a hold of a couple of copies of these holy texts, or at least parts of them, and they have been published, both in print and on the Internet. Some say that these supposed Yezidi holy texts are actually fakes, and that no extant holy texts exist, as all knowledge is oral.

I glanced through the material in these texts along with an analysis of them. Shall we say that Yezidism is an immensely complex religion and that this article does not begin to tickle out an understanding of it?

Kakaism is another Kurdish sect that is very similar to Yezidism. It arose 1000 years ago in northern Iraq due to conflicts between the Umayyad rulers of Islam and the Zoroastrian priesthood. Kakais, like Yezidis, are forbidden from cursing Satan on religious grounds. Hence, many Muslims see them, like the Yezidis, as devil-worshipers. There are 300,000 Kakais in Kurdistan.

This research takes a lot of time, and I do not get paid anything for it. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a a contribution to support more of this valuable research.

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