This people group are related to the Kurds and speak Kurmanji. They have a worldwide population of about 300,000. Of these about half live in the foothills of the Zagros Mountain area bordering Iraq, Iran and Turkey, where they make their living farming and raising cattle much as they have done for generations. However an estimated 50,000 have moved to Europe in search of work and Asylum.
Shi’a Muslim Influence in Iraq
Other Yezidi communities live in Russian Armenia, Aleppo in Syria and other areas. They are a sect of extreme Shi’a Muslims that have been persecuted over the centuries as heretics by Kurdish sunni muslims who tried to forcibly convert them. They also suffered persecution from the Iraqi government in the 1990′s. The Yezidis began as different groups of people’s who migrated to Iraq from other areas of the Middle East over the centuries. These migrations may have been from as early as 6th century B.C.
What The Yezidi Kurds of Iraq Believe
These groups lived together practicing a variety of religions including Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Embracing Islam together with their existing traditions in about 750 A.D. they began to come together as one people group under the leadership if Shaikh Adi who was worshipped as a God. He subsequently adjusted some of the practises of Islam so they only needed to pray 3 times a day instead of 5. They believe they are exclusive in only being descended from Adam not Adam and Eve as the rest of humanity. As children of Adam they are God’s chosen people. They kept themselves isolated from other communities among whom they lived and did not intermarry with them. The only way to become a Yazidi is to be born into the family.
They believe in a supreme God who created the world but who is remote and has delegated his rule to seven angels, the chief of whom is the Peacock Angel. This angel is also the devil in Yezidi belief and as such they fear his power and seek to appease him. He is seen as an arbitrary Lord in whom good and evil are combined.
They celebrate their holy day on Wednesday and Saturday is the day of rest. They have a new year feast as well as a celebration at the end of ramadan. They also have a Jesus Feast around Easter time.
Within the close community structure as well as the family relationships each person is allocated a special brother or sister who is chosen to be with them in the afterlife, this is an unchangeable relationship who stays with the person particularly in times of sickness or need.
Pray for the Muslim Kurds in Iraq:
* Christians to be called to specifically go and reach this community where there is no know christian witness.
* God to open the hearts of the Yezidi people to respond to Jesus. The Jesus feast would be a time that the revelation of the purpose of the cross would be understood.
* Literature in the Kurmanji dialect and the Jesus video would be made available.
* Christians who would build relationships with Yezidi Kurds who live in western Europe and present the incarnational witness of Jesus.