Sinjar and the surrounding region, until the invasion of ISIS, was home to the largest and oldest Yazidi community in the world. Their presence dates back centuries, with holy shrines and pilgrimage sites clustered around the region, and into Kurdish-controlled Dohuk. The often misunderstood Yazidi religion incorporates aspects of Zoroastrianism but is also in many ways similar to both Sunni and Shia Islam. It is based on the belief that one god created Earth and gave ownership of the planet to seven angels led by the peacock angel Melek Taus. There are comparisons between Melek Taus and the Quranic Shaytan, or the Satan of the bible. For this reason, many Muslims consider Yazidis devil worshippers. ISIS considers them infidels and the group’s specific targeting of Yazidi communities has led many to accuse it of an ethnic cleansing campaign aimed to resettle formerly Yazidi communities with ISIS-supporting Sunni populations.
Fall - 2015