URI MENA Cultural Café – 37 session
On Saturday, 2 Jan. 2021, our Cultural café session was on Ezidis (Yazidis) in Iraq hosting Mr. Farhad Shamo Roto, the President & Founder of Voice of Ezidis organization.
Mr. Roto talked about the Ezidis origin, facts, historical insights, rituals and symbols.
Major takeaways include:
• Ezidis is an ethnoreligious group resides primarily in northern Iraq, northern Syria southeastern Turkey and Armenia.
• There are about 1 million Ezidis in the world, most of them in Iraq. The second largest Ezidis minority are in Germany about 200,000.
• Yezidism is a syncretic and monotheistic religion. It can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamian religions. By its adherents to be the oldest religion in the world, Yezidism is considered the first truly monotheistic faith. Ezidis believe in a single God as creator of the world, they are not devil worshippers.
• Ezidis calendar is almost 7,000 years old, which is 5,000 years older than the Gregorian Calendar and 1,000 years older than the Jewish calendar.
• Currently, Ezidis are a persecuted religious minority struggling to survive in Iraq.
• The Power of Choice is a central feature in Ezidis religious tradition.
• Ezidis having experienced over 70 genocides throughout their history
• Sinjar mountain has saved many Ezidis throughout the history
• Ezidis have a unique belief system and culture that they fear might be lost, as many of their traditions have historically been passed down orally. Therefore, with the fragmentation of the community into the diaspora, they are afraid of the total loss of their heritage.
• Ezidi is unique, it is not a synthesis of pagan, Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Muslim.
• One cannot become a Ezidi and marriage outside of the community is forbidden.
• As of today, about 3000 Ezidis are still missing and many women and children are still being held captive. Hundreds of thousands remain in internally displaced People camps in Northern Iraq living under squalid conditions.