Zoroaster statue raises outrage of Yezidi community in Syria


Yezidis in Efrin countryside, northwest of Syria. File photo

ARA News

Gaziantep, Turkey – The Art and Culture Assembly of the Kurdish self-administration in Efrin city, northwest of Syria, has recently presented a statue of “Prophet Zoroaster” to the Yezidi association in the region. This step evoked many anti and pro reactions not only on the statue itself but also on the “Association’s attempt to combine Zoroastrianism with Yezidi religion”, according to some opinions recorded by ARA News.

Letter of the media office of Shekh Kherto Haji Ismail, the Yezidi religious reference in the world, to ARA News.

The media office of the prominent Yezidi figure Shekh Kherto Haji Ismail, the Yezidi religious reference in the world, stated to ARA News, via official letter, that the “fake Zoroaster statue” in the city of Efrin “does not represent nor has any link to the Yezidi religion”.

“Yezidi religion has its own well-known symbols,” Haji Ismail media office said. “We also express our respect to other religions’ symbols, including Zoroastrianism.”

The media office admitted the influence of Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Sabian and Alcakaúah religions on the Yezidi.

The Yezidi researcher Fermaz Gheribo, head of Kanyaspi Yezidi association in Germany, told ARA News that the recently presented statue of Zoroaster in Efrin “does not serve the Yezidi community and follows political agendas”.

Regarding the confusion between Zoroastrianism and the Yezidi religion, Gheribo said: “There is no relationship between Yezidies and Zoroastrians.” He also emphasized that other Yezidis should be cautious about the “attempts of politicizing or even effacing the Yezidi religion”.

Salem al-Reshdani, a researcher in the Yezidi issues, talked about the difference between these two religions saying that Yezidis were negatively influenced by the idea of the “evil god” created by Zoroaster and faced many wars because they worshipped this god.

“According to Yezidis, Zoroaster was the bad son, the come-outer of Yezidi religion. Hence, there is no reference to him in the holy verses,” al-Reshdani told ARA News, adding: “The statue (in Efrin) is a political plan to falsify the Yezidi history. This step is aimed at manipulating ordinary people. The Yezidi religion has only one symbol, which is Melek Taus.”

The Syrian Yezidi activist Dawood Shengali was surprised of the Art and Culture Assembly’s behaviour in Efrin, saying: “This (statue) has nothing to do with our religion. Reasonable people cannot say that Yazidi religion and Zoroastrianism are the same. Such a statue in a Yezidi area will result in negative impact on the community. This is simply a political plan by the Self-administration and its assembly in Efrin to distort the Yezidi historical presence in the region.”

Writer and journalist Kheiri Shengali commented on the issue saying: “Zoroaster is not the Yazidis’ prophet as he betrayed them and created his own new religion which contradicted the Yazidi religion. Yazidis are monotheistic while Zoroastrians are atheists.”

“This is a provocative action by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which is in control over the self-administration in Efrin. It’s an attempt to manipulate the religious feelings of Yezidis,” he told ARA News.

On the other hand, Suleiman Jaafar, head of the Art and Culture Assembly of the PYD-led self-administration in Efrin city, said that the statue of Zoroaster was inaugurated in Efrin to emphasize the Yezidi history in the region.

“But, unfortunately, this work by the Art and Culture Association was ‘harshly’ and ‘blindly’ attacked,” said Jaafar. “It is a statue of a prominent Kurdish symbol who had large impact on the Kurdish and world history, literature and heritage.”

“Zoroaster was one of the main reformers of the Yezidi religion throughout history,” Jaafar argued, contracting the opinions of the different Yezidi figures.


Reporting by: Ali Isso

Source: ARA News

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