With the Islamic State (formerly ISIS or ISIL) sweeping across Northern Iraq, leaving a trail of destruction and murder in their path, they are now engaged in a pitched battle for the city of Sinjar. The North Western city of Sinjar is the home of the Yezidi religious minority group which has suffered under various states of oppression for hundreds of years. Often demonized and misunderstood, the Yezidi have been branded as devil worshippers by people like the highly suspect 19th Century mystic Madam Blavatsky. However, the Yezidi are no devil worshipers but rather practice an indigenous religion which may pre-date Islam but incorporates some elements of Islam, Zoroastrianism, and other belief systems, including the worship of a Peacock god.
The Yezidi faith has many unique practices but despite the interesting instrumentations of their religion, the Yezidi are good peaceful people who have always supported the United States. When I was a Special Forces soldier deployed to Tal Afar in 2009 we had several Yezidi interpreters who were outstanding men. While Sinjar was a safe place, Yezidi who traveled to Mosul faced summary execution. When ISIS captured the city and let all the criminals out of prison, any Yezidi found in the prison were immediately executed.
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