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Iraqi president calling Yezidis ‘remnants of Zoroastrianism’ sparks anger

By Rudaw 23/5/2017
Iraqi President Fuad Masum speaks during press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman, on May 19, 2017. Photo: AFP / Kahalil Mazraawi
Iraqi President Fuad Masum speaks during press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman, on May 19, 2017. Photo: AFP / Kahalil Mazraawi
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi President Fuad Masum has issued an apology to the Yezidi community, calling their religion “ancient and independent” after his earlier description of their faith as a remnant of Zoroastrianism angered some Yezidis.
Speaking to media during a state visit to Jordan last week, Masum said that there is now greater understanding of the Yezidi religion following the massacre conducted against them by ISIS.

He said that there were misconceptions about their origins before the massacre, including the false belief that Yezidis are the descendants of an Islamic ruler named Yazid ibn Muawiya, or Yazid I as he is more commonly known, who ruled in the seventh century.

He said in Jordan that even the very word Yezidi is wrong as they self-describe themselves Ezidis who have origins in the Zoroastrian religion.

“They are the remnants of Zoroastrianism and mixed with it are some Islamic laws,” Masum told reporters in Jordan.
A Yezidi religious leader appealed for Masum to learn more about the faith before speaking about it. 

“Anyone who touches upon the [issue] of Ezidis has to first know what Ezidism is,” Sheikh Alo told Rudaw.
He said that their religion precedes that of Zoroastrian by 2,000 years and claimed Kurds were originally Yezidis, although the majority now follow Islam. 

“It is very bad for them – for prominent Kurdish people to go and spread misconceptions about his nation to the outside world,” Alo added about Masum’s foreign trip to Jordan. Masum is a Kurd. 

Lalish Cultural and Social Center in Duhok is the highest cultural center of the Yezidis in the province where many Yezidis live. They are studying the origin of the religion.

Shamo Qasim, a public relations officer at the center, told Rudaw that their findings show that their religion is older than other religions in the region. 

“Even the Zoroastrianism has benefited from some elements of Ezidism, because it comes after the Ezidi,”Qasim said. He claimed that many of the elements of the holy book of the Zoroastrian religion come from religions that preceded it, including Metra and Yezidi faiths.

Following objections to his comments in Jordan from the Yezidi community, the Iraqi presidency’s office issued a statement on Monday saying that he fully respects the Yezidi religion and is committed to the community’s constitutional rights.

“[President Masum] believes that the Ezidi religion is an ancient religion and is independent on its own,” the statement said.

It added that Masum made his remarks in defense of the Yezidi and Christian communities who had suffered genocide and crimes against humanity at the hands of ISIS.

Zoroastrianism is an ancient, pre-Islamic religion with many people still practicing the faith in Iran, Kurdistan Region, and India.

Many of its adherents in Kurdistan believe the founder of the Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster or Zardasht as it is called in Kurdish, was a Kurd and he spoke a variation of Kurdish language called Avesta.


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kurt basar | 23/5/2017
What a ignorant bastard! Zoroastrians were enemy of the Kurd's/Magus, because of that most of the Magus (astronomer/ learning men) escaped to the land of Hellenist and help their civilization to flourish (Zid/ Zeus). I bet on Muslim/ Arab Mr. Faud's life that his ancestors also were E-zidies. Because of that I always said that the Muslim religion & their Salafi Mullahs are the biggest enemy of the Kurd's & will remain as enemy of the Kurd's. Because we the Kurd's don't worship the criminal man as a Prophet, but we worship giver of the divine light, heat & love MAR-E RESH HA NAS-E
Muraz Adzhoev | 23/5/2017
There is too much lack of knowledge yet about great ancient history, civilization and ethnocultural heritage of the Kurdish nation. This lack of knowledge among the majority of Kurds and also worldwide is the consequence of internal social and external mostly destructive religious factors, which tragically damaged national unity, ethnocultural integrity of the Kurdish people, especially in the Middle Ages, and has been always used by the enemies up to nowadays. Only sovereignly independent Kurdistan will be truly interested, able and capable to revitalize the great ancient national history, diverse culture and valuable heritage of the Kurdish people. And it is absolutely necessary for independent Kurdistan to establish only democratic and secular statehood, religions must be separated from the state.
Jagerxin Derashy | 23/5/2017
It's true even the grate Mala mostafa barzani has said yan hitch melatak nina bnave kurd yan asltrin kurd yezdina Meaning either there are no Kurds in this world or The original Kurds are yezidis! I'm Muslim now but it's important for us to remember that our ancestors were yezids god bless all Kurds yezdi Muslim Christians and all other dissent human beings in the world
Kurd Herki | 24/5/2017
Shame upon whom ever who does not know how Kurds became Muslims. Like today's isis by the force of the sword. We all Kurds should leave Islam, and go back to our heritage. Educated person will not call them self muslim. Gabriel angel came to Jesus not Mohammed. Free your self from this cult. Educated people only please reply.
Median Empire | 24/5/2017
@Muraz Adzhoev: You are absolutely right, Brother! I like ro read our comments ever time, even i don´t share ever Point of view. An seculare, Independent Kurdistan will come and show the world the richness of kurdish People, of Kurdistan/ Mesopotamia,and also the fascinating history of Kurdish Nation, which has its roots in Median Empire, Mittani Kingdom, Gutean Kingdom, besides muslim Civilization and time (King Saladin, Autonomies in Ottoman Empire etc.) But to the iissue of Ezidis: Ezidis of Bakur Kuridtsn and Rojava see themselves mostly as Kurds. But Shengal Ezidis were Baathists, and are against Kurdish Independence and don´t see themselves as Kurds, they mostly hate Kurds. But they have to know, Kurdistan will be like Scotland/ Ireland a great seculare, proud Country, not a Sharia Temple!

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