Repost: Do the Yezidis Worship the Devil?

This is a repost of a repost. The first repost was fully 10 years ago. Amazingly the graphics carried over after the shut-down because the images were saved on my Blogger site, which is still up and running. Yay!

This is an awesome post if I do say so myself, though it looks like it needs an edit. Anyone interested in Comparative Religion, Paganism, Polytheism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, metaphysics, Middle Eastern History or even philosophy might want to look into this post.

I know it’s long. It runs to 35 pages on the web. But you can read it. I read it myself, more than once too! If I can do it, you can do it. If you are interested in this sort of thing, you might find it quite an enjoyable read. If it’s not your thing, well you can always pass it on by. But even if you are not normally interested in this stuff you might find it interesting because this post goes quite a bit beyond its obvious subject matter into a lot of more universal subjects.

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.

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.

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 Arabs 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 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. How is it that 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 the Kabbalists said that not only was God that which cannot be known, but that God was that which cannot even be conceived of. In other words, mere men cannot not even comprehend the very concept of God. A Kabbalist book says that God is “endless pure white light”.  Compare to the Yezidi view that God “pure goodness”.

This comes close to my own view of what God is.

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 that of the gods of Christianity, Islam, Judaism or the Greeks, although it is similar to Plato’s “conception of the absolute.”

Instead, it is similar to the Deists’ view of God. 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 (the Holy Ghost); an old man, Šeiḫ ‘Adî (God or the Father) – compare to the usual Christian portrayal in paintings of God as an old man with a long white beard ; and a young man, Yazid (Jesus) – 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 the Yezidis say 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 by the Yezidis as neither an evil spirit nor a fallen angel but as a divinity in his own right.

One wonders why 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 and 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 also associating the peacock with the Devil.

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, 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. Malak Tus is the King of the Angels, and he is ruling the Earth for a period of 10,000 years. Yezidis do not allow anyone to say his name, as this is degrading to him.

Yezidis 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 “river” 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, Nortel, Dardael, Shamnael, and Azazael. They were all present at a meeting in Heaven at which 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 – since 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 (or offspring), Adam produced a boy, but Eve produced an entity 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 temptresses and sources of evil, 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 both of 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, for the last 2,000 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 believed the opposite, since they regarded Jesus as purely human whereas Nestorians regarded Jesus as purely divine. These early sects believed 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 early Christian sects which resemble Judaism a lot more than they resemble Christianity. Hence, 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, so the Koran is of two minds about Jesus.

Finally, the Koran denied the crucifixion due to Gnostic influence, especially the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, hence the Koranic implication that modern Christians are actually Christian apostates having diverged from the true Christianity.

The local Muslim neighbors of the Yezidis, similarly, hold that the Yezidis are Muslim apostates, having originally been Muslims who left Islam to form a new religion.

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 is one of the tripartite of angels worshiped by the Yezidis  and 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.

He came to Mosul for spiritual reasons. Šeiḫ ’Adî 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.

While he was living, his followers worshiped 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 his followers erected a shrine, and it later became one of the holiest sites Yezidism. 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. Yezidis say they are all descended from this man, whom they often refer to as God, but they also refer to Šeiḫ ’Adî as God. 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 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 was known as the Triangle of Death in the Iraq War. In 661, the Kharijites assassinated Ali, one of the ultimate moments in the Sunni-Shia split.

At some point, bin Unaisa split from the Kharijites other than some of their early followers who were following a sect Al-Abaḍia, founded by ‘Abd-Allah Ibn Ibad who left with bin Unaisa. bin Unaisa said that a Muslim who committed any great sin was an infidel.

Considering his Islamic fundamentalist past, he also developed some very unorthodox views for a Muslim.

For instance, he said that God would send a new prophet to Persia (one more Iranian connection with the Yezidis). God would also send down a message to be written by this prophet in a book, and 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 sect of the Kharijites. 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. All seemed to have derived in part from the ancient pagan religion of Mesopotamia. Sabeans 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.

The Sabeans believed that God dwelt within all 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, 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. Therefore we can assume that Yezîd bn Unaisa believed in God and the Resurrection Day, respected angels and the stars, and yet was neither polytheistic nor a true follower of Mohammad.

At the same time, bn Unaisa 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 now say say that the word 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 Zoroastrians.

Presently, 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, yet at the same time pay no attention to Ali (recall that the early Kharijites assassinated Ali). Being opposed in a sense 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, injecting their strain 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 or Dawasen in the plural. Long ago, 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 the members of this Diocese became Yezidis that the Diocese collapsed.

Furthermore, many names of Yezidi villages are actually words in the local 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. At the baptism, the priest puts his hand on the child’s head as he 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 Yezidis 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.

Yezidis revere both Jesus and Mohammad as religious teachers, not as prophets. The group has survived via a hefty dose of taqqiya, or the Muslim tradition of dissimulation to ward off persecution, in this case pretending outwardly to be some type of Shia Muslim.

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.

Yet the primary Islamic influence on the Yezidis is actually Sufism, not Shiism per se. But even the fundamentalist Shiism practiced in Iran is very friendly to Sufism, while fundamentalist Sunnism is very hostile to this form of Islam.

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).

The Yezidi caste called Mureeds are unfortunately about on a par with Dalits or Untouchables in Hinduism. Marriage across castes is strictly forbidden in Yezidism, as it has been disapproved in India.

Pre-Islamic Iran (Zoroastrianism) also had a caste system, and the base of the Yezidi religion seems to be derived from Persian Zoroastrianism. Hindu caste dates from 3,500 YBP.  The suggestion is that going back a few thousand years, caste was common in human societies and caste-based religions were religion. So caste may be the leftovers of an ancient human tradition.

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 inherited this from the Zoroastrians. The Yezidis say, “Without fire, there would be no life.” This is true even in our modern era, for 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. This connection is not born out by serious inquiry. Tammuz was married to the Assyrian moon goddess, Ishtar.

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? It can only be the miracle of flight.

 

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

Yezidis hold the number seven 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. 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. Believe it or not, 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 both the sun and moon at both 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 Jews being “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. These sacred 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 very purpose. Often sacred clothes are used to make the pilgrimages to these waters 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. They also 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 from these sacred trees.

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. They 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 committed genocide once again on the Christians of Iraq, including the Chaldeans earlier in the Iraq War.

 

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 of Mecca became so large that they had to move out of the valley where the Kaaba resided, so when the former Meccans formed their new settlements, they took rocks from the holy place in Mecca, piled them outside their settlements, and shrine or mini-Meccas out of these things, parading around the rock piles 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, 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 also 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 Kadesh tribe discussed in the Old Testament, where the Kadesh 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.

The (((Cartoon Version of the Lebanese Civil War))) Most Americans Have Heard Is Wrong

Sisera: And naturally Hezbollah was arch rivals of Israel, who was defending the Christians.

But now the tides have turned because Israel’s pet Jihadis genocide Christians.

Israel didn’t invade to rescue any Christians and they were not defending any Christians. They didn’t participate in the Civil War much. They invaded to conquer the PLO in Lebanon.

This is a cartoon (((evil Muslim Islamist Christian haters trying to genocide good Christians minding their own business version of the Civil War))). This version that most Americans believe was concocted in Israel. So the knowledge most Americans have about that war is just Israeli propaganda.

The war was pretty much rightwing or fascist Maronite Christian groups versus Leftist and Arab nationalist secular Palestinians. That was the war in a nutshell. Later others allied with one side or the other. Most of the groups who allied with the Palestinians were secular. Religious Muslims were mostly not involved in the war.

There was no Hezbollah until 1985. They were caused by the Israeli invasion. And you have it backwards. When Israel invaded, the Shia in the South (Hezbollah’s territory) welcomed them with flowers. They turned on them when the Israelis started being shits like they always do.There was no Hezbollah until 1985. They were caused by the Israeli invasion. And you have it backwards. When Israel invaded, the Shia in the South (Hezbollah’s territory) welcomed them with flowers. They turned on them when the Israelis started being shits like they always do.
The Christians didn’t need any rescuing. They started the Civil War in the first place. They stopped buses full of Palestinians and ordered everyone out and shot everyone in the head.  They did this a few times and the PLO took up arms. But left-wingers were on the side of the PLO too, and the Greek Orthodox were always fighting with the Muslims, etc. against the Maronites. And the leftwing movement of the Druze, a non-Christian, non-Muslim religion, fought alongside the Muslims. Socialists, Communists and Arab nationalists all fought with the Muslims.
The Maronites were sick and tired of the Palestinians living in their country. That’s why they started the war.
The Christians have always run Lebanon. They’re no poor victims. More like minority rule thugs.
The war started with Leftists, Syrian nationalists and Arab nationalists against the Phalange fascist Christian militia modeled after the Nazi party (your heroes). None of the former were very religious. Those were secular groups. Sunni Muslims and Armenian Christians sat out the war. The people who took up arms against the Maronites were secular Arab nationalist types. The Shia sat out the war for a very long time. They did not want to get involved. But they had sympathies with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians set up refugee cams all over Southern Lebanon to attack Israel. During this time, the Shia hated them. The Palestinians ruled like thugs and the religious Shia saw them as a bunch of Commies. They were so sick of Palestinian rule that they welcomed conquering Israelis with flowers as I mentioned.
The main Shia movement, the Amal, fought against the Palestinians alongside the Maronites at the start of the war. The Shia only turned against Israel due to Israeli abuses. They formed Hezbollah, but they spent most of their time fighting Israel. An Armenian Communist organization fought the Maronites for most of the war. These were Christians.
The war actually started when the Maronite President of Lebanon tried to force a fishing monopoly for his group along the coast. Fishermen in Sidon objected and there were popular demonstrations. Palestinians joined these demos. A sniper killed the former mayor of Sidon. To this day no one knows who killed him or why. The sniper fired at the  end of a demonstration and appeared to try to start a conflagration. The situation soon spiraled out of control and the Maronite government lost control of the situation.
The actual beginning of the war was fighting versus Maronite and Palestinian militias. The Maronite government was not involved.
You are going by the (((officially narrative))) of the war of evil Muslim Islamist Christian haters trying to genocide the good Christians of Lebanon. Except most of the “Muslims” were not even religious and the Christian militias were objectively fascist and in particular opposed to democratic rule via a census which would have made them a minority.
The war was secular Palestinians versus fascist Maronite Christians. Most religious Muslims sat out the war. There was no “evil Muslims trying to exterminate good Christians out of religious hatred” bullshit. Hezbollah never took part in the civil war itself. All they did was fight against Israel and its puppet Maronite army in the south. However, most of the soldiers in this “Maronite” army were Shia Muslims! So the war in the South was Shia Muslims in the SLA versus Shia Muslims in Hezbollah. Also there were many Palestinian Christians in the PLO fighting against the Maronites.

The Latest Chemical Attack in Syria Never Happened, and Neither Did Any Previous Ones

This latest fake attack was staged by the radical Islamists in the Army of Islam. All previous chemical attacks were also faked. I have been studying this intensively for five years now and I have studied every reported chemical attack by Assad’s forces. Not even one of them actually happened, not one!
These guys have done the best work on the matter:
What is happening is that there are no chemical attacks, ever. Assad has never done any chemical attacks. He got rid of all of his chemical weapons and this was verified by the UN.
What has happened is that the rebels themselves have used chemical weapons, including sarin but mostly chlorine. But the victims in these attacks, if any, have not been paraded before the media as in the more famous cases. I am not sure the outcomes of the rebels’ use of chemical weapons, which has been rather sparse.
Assad doesn’t use chlorine either. Assad’s not a nice guy, and he does a lot of bad things, but he doesn’t use chemical weapons, and he does not engage in massacres either. All of those massacres you here about were done by the rebels and blamed on Assad. In the last five years, I have also studied all of the massacres that have been blamed on Assad. These are often gruesome massacres of civilians in villages, with body mutilations, etc. All massacres were done by the rebels of Assad supporters or minorities like Alawites, Christians, or Assad supporting Sunnis. Afterwards the rebels blamed the massacres on Assad, and the media fell for it every time.
Assad does encircle cities and not let much anything, food or anything, come in. He bombs cities, including apparently civilian areas. He uses those barrel bombs, which are pretty nasty. He may bomb schools and hospitals. He may well target relief workers such as the White Helmets.
Mostly he arrests people who are either supporters of the rebels or rebels themselves (mostly), and they are put in military prisons where they are mistreated, given hardly any food, denied medical care, beaten, tortured and sometimes beaten and tortured to death and sometimes taken out for mass executions, which take place by hanging. Assad may have killed 50,000 at his prisons in this way. In addition, I believe that a lot of these bodies have been burned in incinerators to get rid of the evidence. Even at this moment, Assad’s people are digging up some of his mass graves to remove the bodies, presumably for burning.
Assad’s not a nice guy! But it’s a matter of style. He simply does not prefer to do civilian massacres or use chemical weapons for whatever reasons he has.
What has happened is that these rebels have kidnapped many people who are government supporters or mostly minorities such as Christians, Alawites or Druze. They use them as human shields, put them in cages in the cities they rule, and imprison and torture them for long periods of time. They also move them around Syria. The Army of Islam, which just vacated Douma, had many of these prisoners. A lot were saved, but 5,000 were missing. So it looks like the Army of Islam executed 5,000 of their civilian prisoners in Douma.
Now here is where the chemical weapons bullshit comes in. What happens is that the rebels execute or murder their prisoners or hostages, mostly minorities such as Alawi, Shia, Druze, and Christians. They kill them in various different ways.
Some of these Douma victims have bullet holes in their heads and other parts of their bodies. Others are bleeding and have various other wounds.
In the famous Ghouta “sarin attack” many of the victims had slit throats. Chemical weapons don’t bloody you, put bullet holes in you, or slit your throat!
What happens though is often sneaky.
In the famous Ghouta attack, the rebels took 300-400 of their hostages and executed them in basements with gas cylinders. We have photos of some of these gas rooms with gas cylinders leaking gases. They close the doors and the people die. The gas appears to be usually carbon monoxide. The chemical poisoning is consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning but never with sarin or chlorine poisoning.
We know these latest victims were not killed with sarin or chlorine because they lack the symptoms of those chemicals.
Also chlorine hardly kills anyone. You get maybe one dead for every 100 wounded. So five dead and 500 wounded. No way does chlorine cause 80 dead and zero wounded as in this latest fake attack. Notice something else? 80 dead here. You see any wounded? Of course not. There are often no wounded in these fake attacks. This makes no sense because a lot of people would have survived even a sarin or especially a chlorine attack.
So they gas these hostages of theirs to death somehow or they kill them in other ways. Khan Sheikoun victims were gassed, apparently with carbon monoxide. Also the victims there were at the rebel field hospital which is in a cave. That is miles away from where the fake chemical attack took place. Also there are no records of any attack on Khan Sheikoun at the time of the fake chemical attack at 6 AM. The only attack took place later at 12 noon. Russia and US military concur about this.
In addition, a number of these fake chemical attacks take place at night. Except Assad’s air force does not fly at night. They are not good enough at flying planes to do that well, so they don’t do it.
In addition, chemical weapons are never dropped from planes, ever. I don’t believe you even can. There have never been chemical bombs dropped from planes. Instead they are always fired from shells by artillery. For some reason, that’s how they are always used. The chemical bomb crater at Khan Sheikhoun was a huge crater. This is not possible because a chemical shell is quite light, only a pound or two. Some of the world’s top experts on chemical weapons looked at that crater and said there’s no way that is from a chemical weapon. Instead it looks like a regular bomb crater.
The rebels have sarin factories, and this has been proven. The rebels were caught with a lot of sarin in Turkey trying to bring it into Syria.
In Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun, sarin was released into the atmosphere. In Ghouta a small amount of sarin was released at the time of the fake attack. I am not sure how they did this. Some or more of the victims did have sarin in their blood, but the levels were very low, too low to be harmful. Furthermore, the sarin samples did not match Assad’s sarin. Instead they matched “bathtub sarin” of the type the rebels were making in Turkey. This is why the CIA told Obama that Assad did not do the Ghouta attack. And that is why Obama did nothing about his line in the sand. He knew the Ghouta attack was fake.
Some sarin was also released in Khan Sheikhoun. It was never stated whether it matched Assad’s sarin or not. The US Secretary of Defense recently said that there was no evidence that Assad attacked people with chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. Furthermore the head of the CIA told Trump that Assad did not do the attack, but Trump went ahead and shot his cruise missiles anyway.
In this latest attack, the victims’ feet, hands and faces are blackened as if by smoke, and there is some sort of white foam coming out of their mouths. The faces are red, but in sarin and chlorine poisoning, the faces are dark blue.
That makes no sense in terms of a sarin or chlorine attack, but another fake attack (some Ghouta victims at the “ghost house”) also had symptoms like that. Usually, victims in fake attacks are civilians wearing old clothes, heavy coats and typically they have shoes. This is the case for the latest attack. The clothes are old because they have probably been kept as prisoners in the clothes they wore when picked up. The heavy coats might help them get through the cold winters.
Why would anyone go outside with a heavy coat but no shoes? Makes no sense. The victims are missing shoes because in Arab culture, they often remove your shoes before an execution. So that’s another sign that the victims were executed.
A number of the victims in the latest attack have “raccoon eyes” which looks like they had a head fracture a few days prior that was starting to heal. These skull fractures occurred before the execution. The victims in the latest attack were posed. Victims often appear posed in these attacks. One of the victims in the latest attack was on a stretcher! Clearly he was brought into that house on that stretcher and placed there. The victims in the latest attack also have dust or mud on their bodies. This is not explained if they were sheltering in that house, but it makes more sense if they were perhaps dragged through dusty streets.
In the many fake chlorine attacks, the rebels show child victims in hospitals. These children are not dead but appear to be. Based on their pupils, these children are under the influence of heavy narcotics. Apparently the rebels are shooting up some of their child hostages with narcotics to make them seem like chemical attack victims. In addition, none of these people bear signs of chlorine gas poisoning.
If you have noticed, these scandalous chemical attacks typically occur after the US caves in on something and says they will negotiate, leave the conflict, or whatever. In other words, they occur after a major diplomatic victory for Assad. They also happen when the rebels are on the verge of being defeated in some area. If Assad is winning and has almost cleared an area, why blow it with a chemical attack on kids? If the US is really leaving Syria, why do the one thing that is guaranteed to make us come roaring back in, a chemical attack on kids? No sane man would behave the way that Assad is said to have behaved in these fake attacks. Assad may be a fool, but he’s not an idiot.
Keep in mind that the UN helped destroy all of Assad’s chemical weapons after the Ghouta fake attack, and they certified that they were all destroyed. So Assad doesn’t even have any sarin to use!
A number of alternative media sources are saying these attacks are fakes, but no one is saying accurately what exactly is occurring: there are no chemical attacks by either side. Instead, rebel hostages and prisoners are simply murdered or executed and then used as props in these fake attack videos. And those rebels are evil enough to execute women and kids. They are all radical Islamists. They are very nasty people.

“Ayatollah Khamenei: ‘Westerners Mourning French Tragedy Should Pause for a Moment,” by Eric Walberg

Great piece by Eric Walberg on Ayatollah Khamenei’s latest speech. Khamenei is a very wise man, and he doesn’t support terrorism against the West. He’s not a Salafi Jihadi. He’s Shia, and the radical Sunnis think that the Shia are infidel heretics who need to be killed. I enjoy his speeches, and I also enjoy those of the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah.

Shia Muslims are generally a lot easier to get along with than Sunni Muslims. For one thing. they have been persecuted themselves by Sunnis for centuries, so they have an idea of what it means to be a persecuted on the basis of one’s religion.

In Hezbollah controlled areas of Southern Lebanon, the Shia leave the Christians completely alone. There are many Christian villages there, and Hezbollah lets them do whatever they want. They are not subject to Sharia or Muslim dress codes, and Hezbollah doesn’t enforce Sharia anymore even on the Muslims it controls. Shia Muslim women in Hezbollah controlled areas are not even obliged to wear a headscarf.

There are also Sunni, Christian and Druze members of Hezbollah, and the non-Shia Hezbollah members experience no discrimination.

You can go into Hezbollah-controlled areas of Southern Lebanon and walk into a bar and order a beer. It’s not a problem at all.

The Shia have always been the more progressive Muslim sect as, like Catholics, they believe that Islam is a living religion that must be continuously interpreted to keep up with the times. Hence, Islam is continuously being interpreted by Ayatollahs as Catholicism is constantly being interpreted by Popes to be relevant with the times in which Shia Muslims are living.

This leads to a lot interesting thinking and rulings. Iran’s Ayatollahs have decided that transsexualism is compatible with Islam, and one of the highest ranking Iranian clerics is a transwoman or a man who has now turned into a woman.

Prostitution is also quite common in Iran, and the Ayatollahs see prostitutes are more of a persecuted group of women who need protection than carriers of vice. Recently there has been a lot of talk among the Iranian leadership about making prostitution legal and housing prostitutes in houses with madams overseeing them.

This would be done under the rubric of temporary marriage, a Shia custom that allows Shia to have sex even outside of marriage.

In fact, in the extremely religious city of Qom, the headquarters of the religious clergy, there is a thriving prostitution scene, and the male religious students studying there regularly buy prostitutes. There are many prostitutes plying their trade in Qom.

This also is done under the rubric of temporary marriage. The male religious student simply selects a prostitute, and the two of them go to one of the many religious clergy in town and say they want to have a temporary marriage. The clergyman then grants them a temporary marriage lasting usually about three days.

The student and the prostitute then go somewhere to have sex. Somewhere often means one of the large local cemeteries where believe it or not, prostitutes ply their trade in the underground tombs! The three day marriage often lasts more like a couple of hours, as the two do the deed and then part.

A high ranking woman in the Iranian government has made use of temporary marriage to have sex with ~50 male clerics over the years. She has been quite outspoken about her religiously sanctioned promiscuity, and apparently the Ayatollahs are just fine with it too.

When it comes to Islam, the Shia are clearly a different bird altogether.

Ayatollah Khamenei: “Westerners Mourning French Tragedy Should Pause for a Moment”

by Eric Walberg

The leader of the Islamic Revolution has once again addressed Western youth who either for the most part are misinformed about Islam because of the bias in media and society in favor of Israel and Zionism, or are Muslim but living in a climate of Islamophobia and in desperation have drifted to the militant jihadist movement which began in Afghanistan in 1979 with US blessing and is now a permanent feature of world politics. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls on them to “reconsider the threat of terrorism in the world, its roots and to find a deep insight into Islam.”

The tone of the Ayatollah’s reflections is calm and friendly, the content intelligent and at the same time heartfelt. You can feel his spirit of universal love and his anguish at the suffering that terrorism brings. It is sad to note that Western media and politicians have an obsession against Iran despite Iran’s constant reaching out and attempts to help the West fight terrorism. The reasons, of course, are Iran’s staunch support for Palestine and its refusal to submit to the dictates of imperialism. Both unforgivable ‘sins’.

These are not rational reasons. Following 9/11, Iranian intelligence shared information with US intelligence – until President Bush found out and put a stop to it. Iran made intelligent proposals to resolve the nuclear energy stand-off for the past decade, all rejected by the US. The world is blessed by Iran’s support for Palestine, as the Arab states are just not up to the task.

Like his earlier appeal, once again the Ayatollah calls for dialogue on the most painful matters to “create the grounds for finding solutions and mutual consultation”, or the situations will continue to spin out of control.

For the Ayatollah, each life is important and each unnatural death is a tragedy. “The sight of a child losing his life in the presence of his loved ones, a mother whose joy for her family turns into mourning, a husband who is rushing the lifeless body of his spouse to some place, and the spectator who does not know whether he will be seeing the final scene of life – these are scenes that rouse the emotions and feelings of any human being…whether they occur in France or in Palestine or Iraq or Lebanon or Syria. The Muslim world shares these feelings and are revolted by the perpetrators”.

The supreme leader explained that Muslims have suffered far more than anyone else due to colonial occupation and the trauma that Israel inflicts daily on Palestinians. Westerners mourning the French tragedy should pause for a moment.

“If the people of Europe have now taken refuge in their homes for a few days and refrain from being present in busy places – it is decades that a Palestinian family is not secure even in its own home from the Zionist regime’s death and destruction machinery. What kind of atrocious violence today is comparable to that of the settlement constructions of the Zionist regime?

“This regime…every day demolishes the homes of Palestinians and destroys their orchards and farms. This is done without even giving them time to gather their belongings or agricultural products and usually it is done in front of the terrified and tear-filled eyes of women and children who witness the brutal beatings of their family members.

Shooting down a woman in the middle of the street for the crime of protesting against a soldier who is armed to the teeth – if this is not terrorism, what is? This barbarism, just because it is being done by the armed forces of an occupying government, is it not extremism? Or maybe only because these scenes have been seen repeatedly on television screens for sixty years, they no longer stir our consciences.”

The Ayatollah laments the ongoing invasions and violation of the Muslim World by the West, “another example of the contradictory logic of the West. The assaulted countries, in addition to the human damage caused, have lost their economic and industrial infrastructure. Their movement towards growth and development has been thrown back decades.”

The Ayatollah looks to the youth of today, who he hopes will be educated to understand the beauty of Islam, and its compatibility with both Christianity and Judaism, its long history of peaceful relations, its rejection of imperialism and colonialism. They must “discover new means for building the future and be barriers on the misguided path that has brought the West to its current impasse.”

The Iranian leader optimistically assumes that people in the West mostly understand of the true nature of modern politics. That Westerners understand the role of the US in “creating, nurturing and arming al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their inauspicious successors, [that] these forces behind terrorism are allies of the West, while the most pioneering, brightest and most dynamic democrats in the region are suppressed mercilessly.”

I wish his words reflected the reality that I see around me in Canada. People are willfully ignorant about these matters, not wanting to see their governments as guilty of nurturing terrorism. My goal in writing is to inform people in these matters, but it is hard to get the message out. It is primarily time-servers who are welcomed by the mainstream media to ‘inform’ citizens.

I admire the Iranian leader’s honesty in pointing out that it is Western ‘culture’ that promotes “aggression and moral promiscuity”, and tries to destroy other cultures. “The western world with the use of advanced tools is insisting on the cloning and replication of its culture on a global scale. I consider the imposition of Western culture upon other peoples and the trivialization of independent cultures as a form of silent violence and extreme harmfulness.”

He does “not deny the importance and value of cultural interaction, but warns against “inharmonious interactions”. That conjures up the image of Westernized youth sneaking into a Russian Orthodox cathedral or a Tehran public place and loudly promoting a Western ‘human rights’ agenda with Western photojournalists on hand, waiting to send some distorted image out on the internet. The upshot is either Russophobia or Islamophobia, whereas the real violation is of national dignity.

This shows that Western culture is in fact non-culture, and promotes apathy, decadence, or nihilism which oppresses us all today. But, disillusioned as I am with Western media and its brainwashing, I was heartened after the Paris bombings to hear sensible Canadians reject the jihadists’ plan to promote Islamophobia, forcing Muslims to join them in their will-o’-the-wisp Caliphate.

There are many Muslims in Canada now – eleven of them are members of Parliament in the ruling Liberal Party. A 30-year-old Afghan woman Maryam Monsef is Minister of Democratic Institutions. Muslims are first rate Canadians – hard working, quiet, educated, devout. They are slowly transforming Canada for the better, including acting as examples of what Islam can do to benefit society.

I am also encouraged by the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister, ousting the ultra-Zionist Iranophobe Stephen Harper. Muslim Canadians voted for Trudeau en masse. All eleven Muslim MP’s are Liberals. He has a silver bullet against terrorism: the only way to fight ISIS responsibly is to ‘do the right thing’, and expose their policy of violence as bad for Muslims, bad for everyone. Already thousands of communities across the country have pledged to sponsor Syrian families and are busy hosting fundraisers.

Terry Nelson, Grand Chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization, says Manitoba’s plans to bring refugees in from other countries should not be impacted by events in Europe. “There’s been an invitation for 2,500 Syrian people to be here in Winnipeg,” he said. “They should not be judged by a small minority of people that are terrorists. We live in the greatest country in the world. The most peaceful country in the world. We are blessed.”

The Ayatollah’s message is here.

It’s Either Assad or Chaos, Hell and Genocide

Found on the Internet:

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If Assad falls and with him the government and the entire Syrian control structure – there will be no “happily ever after” where the “good and the moderate” form a democratic nation of unity. That never happens. Never. What does happen is slaughter (sometimes genocide), further war between “victorious” factions, and infighting followed by a failed state. The “good and the moderate” don’t get to be the kings of the ashes – that crown always ends up with the radical and the brutal.

There is no way to get rid of Assad and have a peaceful, friendly, moderate, democratic, human-rights oriented, pro-Western government take its place. It’s literally either Assad or complete chaos, much worse than the chaos we are seeing now.

It will be like Libya but only much worse. The forces in Libya only killed each other for several months in a war. That’s not a lot of time to build up hatreds. The Syrians have been going at it for four years in the most brutal way. Furthermore, there were almost no non-Sunni Muslim minorities in Libya. In Syria, fully 27% of the population is non-Sunni Muslim and 12% are not even really Muslims (if we say that the Druze are not Muslims).

And actually I think there will be genocides, especially of the Alawite Shia Muslims, who will simply be slaughtered en masse. There are 2 million of them to kill so it may take some time. There are also 1.7 million Christians in Syria, and I am not optimistic about their fate under a post-Assad regime. The fate of the 350,000 Druze is rather up in the air. There are also a small number of Ismaili Shia who would not fare well at all under a new regime. In fact, they will probably be killed.

And many Syrians support the regime – 70% in a recent poll. That’s 12 million enemy Syrians the new government will have to deal with. Al-Nusra often kills all government supporters when it takes over a town or village. The Free Syrian Army has done the same thing – massacring even whole villages of Sunni Muslims.

Even if Assad falls, I think a lot of pro-Assad forces will continue to fight for what the Assad regime stood for. Bottom line is even is Assad falls, the fighting will not end by a long shot. If we are lucky it will only be like Libya, but I am quite sure it is going to be much worse.

Syria Sitrep August 10, 2014

Assad is not winning the Syrian War, but he is not losing either. The war is more or less stalemated, but ISIS has been gaining ground in the east.
At this point, nearly 100% of Syrian minorities are with Assad. At one point, there were Alawites fighting Assad and Christian divisions of the Free Syrian Army, but that’s all history. Druze also are 100% with Assad.
Syria is full of all sorts of armies and militias everywhere you look. There are a number of militias or armies fighting on the side of Assad which are out of Assad’s control. Many of these are guerrillas behind enemy lines. There are also independent Alawite, Christian and to some extent Druze pro-Assad militias.
There really are no secular or moderate rebels anymore. The Free Syrian Army started out that way, but they have grown more and more Islamist. None of the rebel forces are friendly to Christians, Alawites or Druze at this point. It really is a choice between Assad and a hardline Sunni Islamist regime.
This is an unbelievably vicious and cruel war with many deaths on all sides. There are no angels here. Both sides are fighting extremely dirty. The “secular” Free Syrian Army massacres entire towns of Alawites and chops off the heads of 7 year old Alawi girls. The FSA love to chop off heads, and there are many photos of FSA troops holding up severed heads. Syrian Christians now regard the FSA as the enemy.
Assad is fighting with extreme cruelty. Many civilians are killed by bombs and shelling, and entire enemy held cities are destroyed.
Both sides execute POW’s. Rebels usually execute POW’s right away, but Assad prefers to torture rebel suspects to death. For instance, in the PFLP-GC controlled Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, there has long been heavy fighting between anti-Assad rebels and pro-Assad militias (PFLP-GC militia itself). Government forces bomb and shell the camp. Nearly 175 Palestinian men from the camp have been captured by the regime on charges of being rebels. All have been tortured to death.
Incredibly, ISIS sells oil to the Syrian government from the large oil fields they control.
Rumors that ISIS is a project of the Syrian or even more weirdly the Iranian government appear to lack evidence. ISIS kills many Syrian soldiers so it is hard to see how Assad would want to see his own troops slaughtered.
However, the US and Turkey were supporting ISIS out of the US Embassy in Istanbul until recently. ISIS is a CIA anti-Assad project in coordination with Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar gone haywire and out of control. Frankenstein is up and walking on his own, and he’s coming for the mad scientists who made him.
Heavy fighting between ISIS and a rebellious Syrian tribe in the Deir Al Zour region in the east. Heavy casualties.
Fighting continues between ISIS and other groups, especially ISIS and Al-Nusra. However, Al-Nusra also battles the Islamic Front, especially around Aleppo. And they also fight alongside them in the same city.
There are definitely all-Kurdish militias inside of ISIS.
The Syrian War is a scene of nearly complete chaos, countless militias, everyone fighting everyone, towns changing hands all the time, alliances made and broken, allies fighting alongside each other and then shooting it out, new militias constantly being formed, collapsing or merging into other groups, and extremely heavy casualties on all sides.
It is a complete mess, and it is very hard to figure out what exactly is going on anywhere at any time.

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.

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.

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. How is it that 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 the Kabbalists said that not only was God that which cannot be known, but that God was that which cannot even be conceived of. In other words, mere men cannot not even comprehend the very concept of God. 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, Nortel, 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 2,000 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 he 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 seven 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.

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.
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