BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Speaker of the Iraqi parliament Osama al-Nujaifi sent a congratulatory cable to followers of the Yazidi sect in Iraq and throughout the world on their Fasting eid.
Yazidis, a heterodox Kurdish religious minority living predominantly in northern Iraq, Syria and south-east Turkey, with well-established communities in the Caucasus and a growing European diaspora.
Anecdotal evidence of the existence of Yazidi groups in North-Western Persia has not yet been proven.
There are probably some 200,000-300,000 Yazidis worldwide.
The Yazidis have long been the object of fascination among Orientalists, largely due to their erroneous description by outsiders as 'devil-worshippers' (see below).
The literature devoted to their religion is disproportionately large, considering how few they are in number by comparison with the large majority of Kurdish Muslims.
Their name for themselves is usually, Êzdi, Êzidi, or, in some areas, Dâsini (the last, strictly speaking a tribal name).
Some scholars have derived the name Yazidi from Old Iranian yazata (divine being), though the current consensus among Western academics is a derivation from Yazid b.
Mo'âwiya, revered by the Yazidis as an incarnation of the divine figure Sultan Êzi.