Yezidis of Iraq

by Nathan Hamm on 6/8/2005 · 1 comment

Michael Yon sought out Yezidis near Dohuk and has a fascinating post on them (via Nomad). This is a little far out of the normal beat, but their are some in Armenia as mentioned in an earlier post. Plus I’m a sucker for stories on obscure and unique groups of people.

Not only do shards of Judeo-Christianity glint in this amalgam, but a close look also reveals pieces of Hinduism, especially in the prominence of castes. There are five Yezidi castes–depending on who one asks–the “most important” being the Pir, then Shaikh, Kawal, Murabby, and finally the Mureed (the follower). Descriptions of the Mureed are similar to the Dalits of Hinduism. The Yezidis are strictly forbidden to marry outside the Yezidi, and must marry within their caste.

Yezidis have two holy books: the Book of Revelation and the Black Book. The old Yezidi man informed me that although the Black Book is kept secret so it cannot be defamed, he would like to translate it into English. The title apparently has been rendered.

There’s much, much more in the post, and it’s well worth taking the time to read.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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