Map source: Yazidi Locations: Sasiroglu S. Ceri V: Mental Health Status of Refugees and Refugee Children 1-1-'16. Population: Yazidis who Fled Isis Live in Limbo in Turkish Refugee Camps: Irish Times 4-20-'17. Other Data: GMI. Map: Joshua Project
Introduction / History The Yazidi are a Kurdish people who follow an old religion related to Zoroastrianism, but which has remnants of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their origins are in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. In Iraq they have been violently persecuted so many times in the last couple of decades that some have fled to Turkey in hopes of finding safety and the possibility of moving to the West.
Where are they located? At this time, Yazidis are living in refugee camps in Turkey where they often lack food, water, and medical care.
What are their lives like? They are mostly monogamous, though chiefs may take more than one wife.
They are a closed community which avoids prolonged contact with non-Yazidis, accepts no converts and will kill a daughter who marries outside the religion.
They have been misunderstood by their Muslim neighbors for centuries. They are scorned and despised as "devil worshippers," mostly because of their beliefs regarding the "Peacock Angel," which some Muslims interpret as the devil.
What are their beliefs? Yazidis believe God created the world and then created seven archangels to rule it. One of them, the Peacock Angel, passed a test by God in which he would not bow down and worship Adam. As a result he was made the "god of this world." This story is similar in Islamic teachings regarding Satan. However, the Muslim belief is that Satan was punished for not bowing down. The Peacock Angel is "Melek Taus".
Their world view revolves around angels. Besides praying toward the sun, they will fast for certain angels whom they think control the affairs of this world. They aren't supposed to wear the color blue or eat lettuce. Their holy day is Wednesday and they aren't supposed to take showers on that day. They celebrate New Year's Day as the first Wednesday in the month of Nisan. This is the day they believe the Peacock Angel comes to the Earth as God's representative.
Yazidis believe that they are descendants of Adam, but not of Eve. Instead, they have descended separate from others through Adam's other wife, Jar or Jer.
What are their needs? Today the Yadizis need to find a safe homeland, which will probably not be either Iraq or Turkey. Unless they find refuge elsewhere, it is only a matter of time before Muslims persecute them again.
Prayer Points * Pray for the light of Christ to shine upon the Yazidis in Turkey.
* Pray for believers to reach out to them in their Diaspora.
* Pray for believers among them to be accepted as Yazidis who believe in Jesus and not rejected as cultural traitors.
* Pray for strong Yazidi based fellowships to emerge during their time of crisis.