How ISIS Changed the Yezidi Religion

Source: The Atlantic

Those who went into exile have creatively adapted their rituals. Those who stayed have been just as innovative.

Yezidis light candles and paraffin torches during a ceremony to celebrate the New Year in Dohuk province, Iraq, in 2017.
Yezidis light candles and paraffin torches during a ceremony to celebrate the New Year in Dohuk province, Iraq, in 2017.Ari Jalal / Reuters

BEHZANE, IRAQ—On a recent Friday afternoon, Yezidi musicians led a procession of worshipers toward a newly rebuilt temple on a hillside in northern Iraq. Women burned incense and the congregation threw handfuls of sweets at the flute and drum players. Hundreds of local Yezidis from the town of Behzane, near Mosul, had gathered to reopen one of the temples blown up by ISIS.

“We are so excited to be back,” said a flute player, Arean Hassan. The spiraling, rhythmic music played by Yezidi musicians, known as Qawwals, had been absent from the hills of Behzane for three years under ISIS. Around the newly rebuilt temple stood the charred stumps of olive trees that ISIS had burned to the ground.

Behzane fell to ISIS in the summer of 2014, after the group seized Mosul. In August of that year, ISIS massacred and kidnapped thousands of Yezidis in Sinjar, 90 miles west of Behzane. More than 6,000 women were enslaved, and men were lined up and shot outside their towns. Many more Yezidis died of dehydration and exhaustion during the siege of Sinjar mountain. Thousands of survivors remain displaced or in exile.

Behzane was retaken by the Kurdish Peshmerga in late 2016. This autumn, its townspeople celebrated a return to their sacred place. “I’m so happy to dance again,” said Dilbreen Ibrahim, a 20-year-old worshiper who came home this summer. “It is victory against ISIS.”

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2 replies

  1. We cannot imagine it how dangerous the extremist Muslim who implement the ancient Islamic laws

    I just do not undestand it why Ahmadiyyah do not want to reject the ancient Islamic laws? It is obvious that the ancient laws are not relevant to the modern time.

    I just pray to God only God can open people heart and mind. May God guide Ahmadiyyah clerics to change the ancient laws, Amin


    • Somi: and who should decide which Hadith to cancel? Somi or some Pakistani Madrassa’s Mullahs? Better to have a Khalifa of Peace who interprets both Qur’an and Hadith. The followers of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat never seem to have the problems that you are facing. (And it has been proven again and again that the so-called followers of so-called ISIS have little knowledge or Quran and Hadith. They just feel like murdering and need no Qur’an or Hadith to justify their actions.

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