Who are/were the Yezidis? 4

For the convenience of our readers, we repeat our post on this religious group, founded in the 11th century and now facing extinction in Iraq at the hands of the savage Islamic State (IS). (Many reports of them in the Western media confuse them with the Mandeans, another minority religious group living in Iraq – south of Baghdad – otherwise known as Sabeans; one of the religions, along with Christianity and Judaism, recognized by Islam as “people of the book”, who may be spared death or conversion if they submit to Islam and pay the jizya tribute to their Muslim overlords. Put “Mandeans” into our search slot to know more about them.)

The Yezidis [or Yazidis] worship  The Peacock Angel, Malak Taus. He’s identified by Muslims and Christians with Shaitan/Satan, so the Yezidis are held to be devil-worshipers. They are ethnic Kurds, most of them  settled in Mosul, Iraq. There are some in Iran, Kurdistan, Armenia, and the Caucuses. In all, it’s estimated, there are about half a million of them. Their cult is in part an offshoot of Sufism, with various accretions. They build small temples, shrines with conical white spires, and they keep sacred snakes. They practice circumcision. The colour blue is repulsive to them*, and the eating of lettuce is forbidden. They have an hereditary  priesthood under a High Priest, and sacred books.

There is no need, they believe, to worship the Supreme God, because he is all good and so will never do you harm. The Peacock Angel, on the other hand, must be propitiated. He is capable of doing harm or good, and so must be won over to doing you good. Eventually he will be reconciled with the Supreme God, and that eventuality could come about at any moment.

In their cosmogony, the Supreme God created the world, which is watched over by 7 lesser divinities or “mysteries”, chief among whom is the Peacock Angel, Malak Taus. God created him first, out of his own light, and ordered him never to bow to other beings. Then God created the other six angels, and ordered them to make Adam out of the dust of the earth. God took the inanimate body of Adam and breathed life into him, and instructed the angels to bow down to him. Of course Malak Taus did not bow. “I cannot submit to him because,” he reminded God, “I am made of  your own light, while he is made of dust.”  This pleased God who then appointed him his vicar on earth. As its ruler, Malak Taus visits the earth on the first Wednesday of Nisan (March/April – roughly the same time as Easter), which is the Yezidi New Year’s Day, and the anniversary of the day on which God made the Peacock Angel. On that day they feast, make music, dance, and decorate eggs.

God made the earth by first making a pearl, which remained very small for some forty thousand years, and was then expanded and reworked into its present state. From time to time the 7 angels are incarnated in human form and dwell among the living on earth.  Their main annual festival is a week-long pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi, their founder, who they say was the incarnation of one of the 7 angels. The tomb is at Lalish, north of Mosul.

All Yezidis are descended directly from Adam, not through Eve. At first the sexual roles of Adam and Eve were not fixed. Each produced a seed which was was sealed in a jar. Eve’s seed bred creepy-crawly things, but Adam’s developed into a boy-child who grew up, married a houri, and fathered the Yezidis.

As Adam’s seed, they are different from all other peoples. They permit marriage only within the sect, and members of each caste of their social and religious hierarchy can only marry among themselves.

They pray five times a day facing the sun. Their holy day is Wednesday, but their day of rest is Saturday.

In 2007,  al-Qaeda suicide bombers drove oil tankers into two Yezidi communities near Mosul which they exploded, killing more than 500 and injuring about 1,000 more. This sent thousands of Yezidis to the Syrian border to seek asylum.

When the city of Sinjar was recently taken by the Sunni Muslims of IS, the Yezidis fled to Mount Sinjar. Their choice was to die of hunger and thirst on the mountain, or be slaughtered by the IS.

It has been reported that the IS offered them another choice – between conversion to Islam or death. That is not likely to be true. The Muslims call them “devil worshipers” and consider them fit only for death.

Many have already died from starvation and lack of water. Some parents threw their children off the mountain to save them from such a death.

Today US military aircraft dropped packages of food and water to them. Will they continue to do so? For how long?

This sect – numbering in all fewer than 100,000 – is almost certainly now doomed to extinction. (Though there are a few Yezidi communities in Europe, North America and Australia, amounting altogether to a few thousand, which might continue for a while yet.)

Whatever would the human race do without the blessings of religion?

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It seems that in modern times, Yezidis no longer recoil from the color blue. Other  interdiction may have changed too.

The Islamic persecution of Christians 3

As the current wars of religion rage on, the mainstream media are chiefly reporting the war in Gaza. They put much stress on the number of Palestinian deaths – information they get only from Hamas, which has every reason to claim as many deaths as possible. Hamas’s tactic is to provoke attack and then show the wounds – the deaths of the women and children it uses as shields – and cry loudly until “the world” rescues them from defeat.

Is “the world” really concerned about the deaths of civilians in the Middle East? Or only concerned when they die because Israel strikes back at the Arab enemy after years of rocket attacks?

Is “the world” moved by Arab deaths if Israel can’t be blamed for them? Not so much. Shall we say Muslim deaths then? Also not so much.

What about Christian deaths at the hands of Muslims? The oppression and intense persecution of Christians? Christians being stripped of all they possess and expelled from lands their ancestors have lived in as Christians since the second century C.E?  Hardly at all.

No outcry about their treatment from Christian America? No. Not a word from those Presbyterians who have lately evinced so much interest in boycotting Israel? No.

The Pope? He’s praying for their persecution to end. No persecutor named. If he was expecting a quick response from his God now that Omniscient attention has been drawn to the issue, is he disappointed?

The Archbishop of Canterbury?  No –  the Anglican clergy likes Islamic sharia law and helped introduce it into Britain.

What about the UN? You must be joking! The UN is an agency of the Arab states.

David Singer writes at Canada Free Press:

The Syrian civil war has claimed 170,000 lives in three years; this past weekend’s death toll in Syria was greater than what took place in Gaza. By some accounts, the past week may have been the deadliest in the conflict’s grim history. Meanwhile, the extremist insurgents of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), have continued their ravages over a swath of territory stretching from eastern Syria to the environs of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital; the spike in violence in Iraq has led to more than 5,500 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year.” …

The newly-declared Islamic State (IS) – which includes Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – already exceeds the area of Great Britain. …

Christians were given 24 hours to leave Mosul or convert to Islam and pay a tax – or die.

Nuri Kino – reported on Fox News – confirms the tragic situation in Syria and identifies those engaged in persecuting these ancient Christian communities:

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, also has been nearly emptied of Assyrians, Armenians and other non-Muslims …

The prideful tone in which the perpetrators speak whenever I have interviewed them — both Al Qaeda and IS — is equally shocking. These are mostly disgruntled young men who were teetering on the edges of society in their own homelands, often in European suburbs, and now believe they have the power to do whatever they want in the name of Islam. They can claim any house in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria as their own, and tell the owners to either leave or risk being killed. They can take any woman as their wife 

At least 700, 000 non-Muslims — Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis and others — have left Iraq by now. No one knows how many have left Syria.

Nina Shea reports in Fox News:

ISIS has set out to erase every Christian trace. All 30 churches were seized and their crosses stripped away. Some have been permanently turned into mosques. One is the Mar (Saint) Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, newly outfitted with loudspeakers that now call Muslims to prayer. The 4th century Mar Behnam, a Syriac Catholic monastery outside Mosul, was captured and its monks expelled, leaving behind a library of early Christian manuscripts and wall inscriptions by 13th-century Mongol pilgrims. Christian and Shiite gravesites, deemed idolatrous by ISIS, are being deliberately blown up and destroyed, including on July 24, the tomb of the 8th-century B.C. Old Testament Prophet Jonah, and the Muslim shrine that enclosed it.

Patrick Coburn does not mince his words in The Independent:

It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.

Yet the media show little interest in exposing the decimation and dispersal of the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.

And here’s Mark Steyn:

Baghdad used to be 40% Jewish. Tripoli used to be 40% Jewish. And the Jews were all chased out there. And now it’s the turn of the Christians. … ISIS are effectively doing every day what the European media and American campuses accuse Israel of doing. Everyone thinks Israel is slavering with blood and wants to eliminate every last Muslim in Gaza. No, they don’t. They just want to live with them. The difference is ISIS actually wants Iraq cleansed of Christians in the way it was cleansed of Jews, just as the Muslim Brotherhood wants Egypt cleansed of Coptic Christians the way it was cleansed of Jews.

But still the West, Christian by tradition if not in belief or observance, shows little concern.

This can be seen not only in the dearth of comment from governments and churches, but also among the people who seek their information and spread their opinions on the “social media”.

David Singer adds this statistic to his article:

Google reports on the Israel-Gaza war outnumber reports on the ISIS-Christian conflict by about 20:1.

Nuclear armed terrorists? 3

Terrorists have got hold of nuclear materials that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction, according to Reuters.

Why were nuclear materials in Iraq at all? Once there, why were they not well guarded?

Where did Iraq obtain them? From Iran?

This is from Yahoo News:

Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.

Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”

“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” said Alhakim.

He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

A US  government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon. Another US official familiar with security matters said he was unaware of this development raising any alarm among US authorities.

Not very reassuring statements, those.

How difficult?

Might there not be alarm among US authorities that is being kept secret?

The terrorist organization that has captured the stuff is of course ISIS, now “the Islamic State”. 

“The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad,” Alhakim wrote.

Iraq acceded to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material on Monday, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The convention requires states to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.

“It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences,” according to the IAEA.

And just what are the theoretically co-operating states going to do about it?

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Iran, Iraq, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, News, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Thursday, July 10, 2014

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