Luqman Sadeeq

Yazidis says that thier religion is over 6000 years old, which is older than Islam Christianity and Judaism. Back in time when the Ottoman Empire was rolling and controlling the area, Yazidis were living in Badinan area particularly in Shexan where the Yazidi holy place Lalish is lacated and Sinjar. The Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II declared military campaign against Yazidis for two reasons: first, the Yazidis have to join military  recruitment for the Ottoman Empire. Second, Yazidis must convert to Islam. At that time some of Yezidies accepted the first condition by serving in military without giving tribute(jizya) to the state, but also some of them didn’t accept to fight for Ottoman Empire, then the Ottoman Empire decided that everyone in the Ottoman Empire have to join military recruiting including Yazidis.

 Ottoman authorities dealing with Yazidis followed two plans (peaceful or military). Peaceful : by sending them teachers to teach them Islamic rules, principles and also Sultan Abdulhamid II sent a delegation to the Yazidis carrying a letter calling them to return to Islam. The Yazidis rejected to leave their religion and didn’t let the Islamic teachers to come to thier areas. The Ottoman authorities started the other plan which is military plan, by using military forces to force them to convert and join the ranks of the Ottoman army.

 Sultan Abdulhamid II sent General Omar Whabi Pasha to Mosul and one of his main missions was to make sure that the Yazidis are converting to Islam. A month after his arrival in Mosul, Omar Wahbi Pasha invited Yazidis leaders to visit Mosul and meet him personally, Yazidis accepted his invitation, they went to Mosul representing by Mir Mîrza and his brother Badie. General Omar prepared an official reception to the Yazidis, after a long meeting, Yazidis refused to leave their religion, but then they were forced under intimidation and pressure to convert to Islam.

After that meeting General Omar announced to Sultan Abdulhamid II, that there are no more Yazidis and a of them are Muslims now, but he was wrong, because after the Yazidi leaders returned to thier lands, they returned to their religion again. General Omar didn’t give up, he sent many Islamic teachers and build a very big Islamic school there in Shexan to teach them basic Islamic rules, again it didn’t work.

After it became clear to General Omar that the Yazidis won’t convert to Islam, he decided to attack Shexan by sending a well organized military unit led by his son Asem in 15th of September 1892, he captured some villages in Shexan and he committed many crimes there, such as killing and burning villages. The military took over holy Yazidi places and they burnt the shrine of Sheik Addi, also they transferred many of the Yazidi religious symbols to Baghdad. The Ottoman Empire authorities opened a religious school at the holy temple in Lalish.

After a lot of campaigns against the Yazidis and their religion. Sultan Abdulhamid II decided to leave the Yazidis and focus on the Kurdish revolution led by Shexh Abdulselam Barzani, that’s why he decided to dismiss general Omar Wahbi, and he returned to Istanbul in April 1892.


From the book BAHDINAN during the late Ottoman period (1976- 1914) by Kamiran Abdulsamad, which contains many other published or unpublished sources:

Barth, Fredrik. Principles of Social Organization in southern Kurdistan, Oslo, 1953.

Blincoc, Robert, Ethnie Realities and church Lessons from Kurdistan A history of mission work (1668-1990), Pasadena, California, 1998.

-Cook, M.A.studies in economic history of the Middle cast. London, 1970

, E. j. R. Notes on Kurdish Tribes, government press, Baghdad, 1919 –

 Guest, Johns, The yezidis, A study in Survival, London, 1987 –

Izadi. Meherdad. R. The Kurds Washington. 1964 Kinan, Derk, The Kurds and Kurdistan, London, 1964 –

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