Yazhidis (or Yazidis) have a strong connection with Hinduism – especially with Tamils (which locals pronounce as Tamizh). Yazh is an ancient music instrument primarily used by Tamils (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazh). It also finds a mention in Tirukkural – an ancient Tamil literary work. Etymologically, Yazhidi seems to have a link with Yazh. Mayil Yazh and Vil Yazh are two forms of that instrument. Mayil means “Peacock” in Tamil.
Yazhidis worship “Peacock Angel” – Lord Muruga (Karthikeya). Tamils too worship Lord Muruga primarily. The custom of Yazhidis is pretty similar to that of Tamils including the practice of applying “Vibhooti” (or holy ash) on the forehead. Yazhidis also have a custom of lighting lamps (Diyas) and carrying “aarthi” plates. They worship just like the way Hindus worship – with folded hands.
India during ancient days comprised most of Asia and Middle eastern regions including parts of Arabia. Indian culture (what is known now as Hinduism) were spread across all these regions. As Arabia followed the same culture in a different form, Indians established many high profile trade relations with Arabia. India exported spices to Arabia and in turn imported magnificent horses. The ancestors of Yazhidis may have settled as traders who migrated from India to Arabian desert and Iraq for the sake of establishing trade houses. Considering that their name has something to do with music, they would have been nomadic tribes who sang for a living. The present day Yazhidis may have been their descendants. Until the advent of Islam and Christianity, the region had been fairly peaceful barring instances of occasional war between two kings. There are many icons of Hinduism in Iraq that dates back several thousand years ago.
Yazhidis worship the symbol of Peacock and a serpent guards the peacock (just like symbolism with Lord Muruga). Serpent has a reputation of being devil’s messenger in Bible and Islamic texts. That forced these sects to declare them as “devil worshipers”. The recent discord between Islamic community and Yazhidis is because Muslims believe that Yazhidis are devil worshipers and they reject Allah. So Islamic Terrorists like ISIS takes this as a license to destroy the race and culture of Yazhidis.
It is a tragedy that Yazhidis are being slaughtered by IS in huge numbers. As I am typing this, I am sure there would be 15 Yazhidis who are being killed or raped right now. This is the worst form of ethnic cleansing the world is witnessing in the 21st century – even worse than ethnic cleansing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
We request all of you to urge respective governments to engage in this war against terrorism and to stop the ethnic cleansing of Yazhidis. They are a very peaceful sect with their own customs. They are dear to us.