Accepted Paper:

Êzîdîs on the edge of the Universe: the Êzîdî genocide in Iraq  


Fazil Moradi (University of Johannesburg)
Kjell Anderson (NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies)

Paper short abstract:

In this article we examine the atrocities committed against Êzîdîs in light of their history and ethnography, as well as the ideological foundations of the perpetrator group, the “Islamic State”.

Paper long abstract:

The Êzîdîs have long lived on the margins. Indeed they have often been excluded from the universe of mutual acceptance and universal human rights. This life on the edge is a product of both their relatively small numbers and their belief in a non-dualistic cosmology. Such minority marginality has made the Êzîdîs perennial victims at the hands of the more powerful, monotheistic ethno-religious groups, which surround them. In fact, Êzîdîs' oral history holds that they have suffered 73 Fermāns ("Orders of extermination") throughout their history. The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has heralded a new age of Êzîdî victimization.

The 74th Fermān is underway. It is characterized by a systematic policy aimed at the destruction of Êzîdîs' collective and individual existence through massacres, ethnic cleansing, sexual violence and rape, mass enslavement, and forced conversion. As it is highlighted in this article, such a policy arises directly from the nature and system of beliefs embodied by Islamic state. Indeed, the ideology of the Islamic state requires the destruction of the Êzîdîs as a heretical, or even satanic, group. This characterization of Êzîdîs is nothing new but the wholesale destruction being visited on the Êzîdîs does bear the modern character of a totalizing ideology. The violence will also be assessed in terms of the objective and subjective elements of the crime of genocide.

Panel P003
Anthropologists between the Middle East and Europe: war, crises, refugees, migration and Islamophobia [AMCE]