The Yazidi mausoleum Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani

The Yazidi mausoleum Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani is located at 36°28’0.33″N 43°19’43.81″E and 372 metres altitude in the Nineveh province. This is a key sector, situated between the desert plains and the foothills of the Kurdistan mountains.

Bahzani, and the neighbouring town of Bashiqa, together had the third largest population of Yazidi in Iraq, prior to the Sinjar massacre. This area is considered to be the intellectual heart of Yazidism. ISIS occupied the area from 7th August 2014 to 7th November 2016. The jihadists destroyed the 22 Yazidi mausoleum in Bashiqa and Bahzani. The Yazidi libraries found here were also reduced to dust. They even burned down the famous sacred olive grove in Bahzani. Despite the extent of the destruction, quite remarkably, all 22 of the mausoleums destroyed have been rebuilt with support from the Yazidi diaspora but without any form of government aid.

Pic: The new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani. June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

About this file

The content of this file has been drafted by Dr. Birgül Açıkyıldız-Şengül, art historian, specialised in Yazidi heritage and culture. Dr. Birgül Açıkyıldız-Şengül is an associate researcher at the University Paul Valéry Montpellier III and the IFEA Istanbul, and is the author of a doctoral thesis: “Yazidi heritage: Funeral architecture and sculptures in Iraq, Turkey and Armenia” presented in 2006 at the University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (department of Islamic art and archaeology). This thesis contains a documented inventory of 88 monuments (sanctuaries, mausoleums, baptistries, oratories, caravanserai, bridges and caves) and 60 funeral sculptures (in the shape of horses, rams, sheep or lions) in northern Iraq, Turkey and Armenia.  Thesis published by I.B.Tauris (London, New York), 2010. The text has been enriched with the observations and interviews of the Mesopotamia team (Pascal Maguesyan, Shahad al Khouri, Sibylle Delaître (KTO)) with support from Mero Khudeada.


Bahzani is located at 36°28’0.33″N 43°19’43.81″E and 372 metres altitude. The Yazidi city of Bahzani, along with the neighbouring town of Bashiqa, form an urban agglomeration located 20 km to the north-east of the centre of Mosul, 15 km to the north of the Syriac-Orthodox city of Bartella, 30 km north of the Syriac-Catholic “capital” of Qaraqosh (Baghdede), 20 km south-west of the Syriac-Orthodox monastery of Mar Matta, 35 km south of the Yazidi city of Ain Sifni (Sheikhan) and finally, 48 km to the south of the Yazidi spiritual centre of Lalish.[1]

Geographically very different from the mountains and valleys of Sheikhan and Sindjar, Bashiqa and Bahzani can be considered to form the gateway to the heart of the Kurdish mountains and the Arab deserts.


[1] Bahzani has varied spellings. Dr. BirgülAçıkyıldız-Şengül uses the name “Behzanê” in his work.

Map of the Yazidi regions, cities and villages in the north and Iraqi Kurdistan
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III.

About the Yazidi in Iraq

Mainly settled in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Nineveh plain, their geographic birthplace, there are also Yazidi in Turkey, Syria, and the Caucasus in particular in Armenia and Georgia. Generally considered as non-Islamic Kurds, which is at the very a least a simplistic if not inaccurate statement given their mythological origins, often demonised due to their religious practices, the Yazidi are a community whose historical origins and number are difficult to estimate.

Marginalized to the extreme in Iraq under various regimes, their existence was practically denied. Prior to 2003, Baghdad officially only recognised a few thousand whereas in reality there were no doubt closer to hundreds of thousands.

The conditions for an attempted genocide were already in place even before the ISIS jihadis started to massacre and kidnap Yazidi in the Sinjar mountains and province of Nineveh in August 2014.

Although the Iraqi forces and the coalition of resistance groups took back Sinjar in November 2015, the majority of the 500,000 – 600,000 Iraqi Yazidi are still displaced. The persecution they have suffered makes them fear for the future despite the constitutional guarantees afforded to them in 2005.

Yazidi representatives in front of the new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

The territorial roots of Yazidism

Yazidism was founded in a mountainous territory where its inhabitants were protected by the slopes, peaks and caves. Considered sacred by the Yazidi, this territory roughly divides into two distinct regions, east and west of the Tigris, the key Mesopotamian river. To the west is Sinjar, the city, surrounding villages and the mountain range. To the east is the spiritual centre of Lalish, and the key sectors of Shekhan, Bozan, Bashiqa and Bahzani. The vast majority of the Yazidi population (including clergy) are from these regions although there are some scattered Yazidi communities outside of these areas.

For centuries, the Yazidi have preserved their customs and traditions in this region, this territory. This preservation of the past was cruelly undermined to the west of the Tigris in the Sinjar region by the devastating ISIS offensive in August 2014. The extent of the destruction and severity of the genocidal crimes committed severely weakened the Yazidi communities in the Sinjar mountains who previously formed the core of the Iraqi Yazidi population.

Sketches of the Lalish sanctuary, viewed from the south.
© in "The Nestorians and their rituals", Rev. George Percy Badger, London, Joseph Masters, 1852
The new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani in its mountain setting.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

Territory, history and heritage

It is in this region, either side of the Tigris, that the Yazidi were able to preserve and develop the characteristic architectural features of their religious buildings which are the main places of worship for the Yazidi faithful.

These buildings are mostly dedicated to the first disciples of the XIIth century Yazidi reformer, Sheikh ‘Adî, members of the Chamsani families and families such as Hasan Maman, Memê Rech and Cerwan, as well as the community’s first religious leaders, descendants of Sheikh ‘Adî (members of the Adani family) and certain important Sufi mystics who influenced Sheikh ‘Adî’s teachings, namely Abd al-Qadîr al-Jilani, al-Hallaj et Qedib al-Ban (Qadî Bilban).

However, it would be wrong to conclude that Yazidism is a medieval religion. The paucity of the theological and historical sources available is compensated for by the ancient tradition and mythology which are omnipresent and constantly developing. The Yazidi see Noah as one of their most ancient and most illustrious patriarchs. They even claim that he lived in Iraqi Mesopotamia, in Ain Sifni (Shekhan) where he built his ark. The Yazidi historians claim that “the Yazidi religion is very ancient. It goes back to 3,500 years BC.”[1]

The Yazidi have a wide diversity of places of worship and prayer, including cemeteries, mausoleums (mazar) some of which are larger than others (khas / mêr), fire oratories (nîshan), the houses of Sheikh or Pîr, trees, bushes, olive groves, bridges, arches, caves, sacred stones (kevir), springs etc. These monuments, structure and sites dedicated to the Yazidi “saints” constitute a large proportion of the cultural setting of the Yazidi communities and are the tangible, physical manifestation of the Yazidi belief system as a whole.

There is however, one fundamental place which all Yazidi turn to, including the diaspora: the Lalish valley in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is the most sacred place in Yazidism. It is the location of the sanctuary of Sheikh ‘Adî, the great reformer of Yazidism in the 12th century.  This valley, its mausoleums and its environment are the centre of gravity of Yazidi spiritual life.

The Yazidi buildings were built at different times. The lack of inscriptions and historical sources make it difficult to date them accurately. The poor quality of some of the more recent restorations makes this analysis even more complex. Furthermore, there do not seem to be specific architectural styles associated with specific periods of Yazidi history which could help to date these buildings. In addition, the same style, derived from a specific model has been used at several times over the centuries and is still in vogue.


[1] Chamo Kassem, inspector of Yazidi schools, specialist in Yazidi religion and culture, Head of Culture and Media, at the Lalish Cultural and Social Centre in Dohuk-Nohadra.

Sketches of the perimeter wall of the Lalish sanctuary.
© in "The Nestorians and their rituals", Rev. George Percy Badger, London, Joseph Masters, 1852

Fragments of Yazidi spirituality and theology

Yazidism is a religion based on tradition and oral history that is both simple and complex at the same time. Simple, because it is not regulated by a constraining liturgy or dogma. Complex, because there is no fundamental theological document underpinning it such as the Torah, the Gospels or the Koran. The Yazidi have two sacred books: the book of revelation “Kitêb-i Cilvê “, and the black book “Mishefa Reş”.

Yazidism is a strictly community-based religion (national). One is born Yazidi, you cannot become Yazidi. There is no evangelizing, inculturation or proselytizing.  That said, Yazidism is not sectarian. Quite the opposite, altruism is considered to be a cardinal virtue, a spiritual and theological foundation. Any researchers interested in studying Yazidism are therefore warmly welcomed by the community and its clergy.[1]

Yazidism is a monotheism. God is singular and unique. He is the creator of the cosmos and of life. In this, Yazidism shares the same belief as the three main monotheist religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  As well as Zoroastrianism.[2]

God is light. He is like the sun which shines on the Earth. That is why the Yazidi systematically face the sun to pray. This is something Yazidism shares with Mesopotamian and Persian Zoroastrianism.

God is good, infinitely good. This is why the Yazidi encourage altruism and always pray firstly for the world and then for themselves.

God is everything and is everywhere. Yazidism is physically and spiritually one with the whole of Creation: cosmic, human, animal, vegetal, and mineral. That is why olive trees whose oil is used for the sacred fire are considered sacred by the Yazidi. Similarly, the angel peacock (tawûsê melek) is the most important of the seven angels (melek) which represent God on earth.

Yazidism believes in the judgement of souls and the last judgement. However, it differs from Christianity in its belief in reincarnation. The dead are buried. Their souls are judged according to the good and evil they have done. Pure souls become beings of light. Impure souls are reincarnated in devalued or bellicose human or animal forms.


[1] “Jean-Paul Roux, who passed away in 2009, former CNRS researcher and head of the Islamic art section of the École du Louvre, considered Yazidism as “a standout religion, an obvious syncretism of popular tradition and reminiscences of the dogma of the major religions’’. La Croix, Claire Lesegretain, 26 April 2010.

[2] Born in Persia, founded by Zarathustra (Zoroaster) in the first millenium Before Christ, Zoroastrianism is monotheist and recognises Ahura Mazdâ as the only God. In this sense Zoroastrianism is fundamentally different from the Mazdaism it is derived from. Mazdaism  is polytheist, considering Ahura Mazdâ as the main, but not the only, God.  This Persian religion spread as far as India in the form of Vedism.

Bas-relief of the sun on the wall of the new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

Yazidi worship

Yazidi worship is not governed by a strict liturgy but constitutes a set of traditional rites and votive practices passed on orally from generation to generation.

The Yazidi generally pray individually, but also gather together as a community at their temples and sanctuaries to listen to qawals, who are both musicians and the gatekeepers and guardians of the Yazidi religion, whose knowledge and practices are passed on from father to son.

The daily prayer, facing the sun, the light of God (Khoda), is not an obligation nor is it required to show you are a “good” Yazidi. However, pious, elderly people pray regularly, up to five times a day.

Kissing sacred places and the hands of saintly figures, offering gifts to consecrated persons, sacrificing animals, knotting and unknotting fabric on wish trees, are all signs of respect and devotion.

Wednesday is the most important day in the week. It is like Sunday for Christians, Saturday for Jews and Friday for Muslims. The main weekly services during which the Yazidi monks light the sacred fire in the mausoleums are held on Wednesdays.

Four major annual festivals are held during the Yazidi religious year. The first is the New Year (ser sal) celebrated on the first Wednesday of the month of April. This festival symbolises the creation of life out of the initial chaos and the coming of tawûsê melek. Eggs, a symbol of the original lifeless earth, are boiled and dyed as part of the celebrations. Some of these eggs are smashed above the doors of houses and mausoleums, mixed in with small red flowers.

Another major annual festival is the Spring festival (towaf), which is held on a date between 12th– 20th April. Finally, the pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adî, in the Lalish sanctuary (djamaiya) takes place on 6th October.

Bas-relief of the crescent moon on the wall of the new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

The mausoleum with a conical dome: characteristic Yazidi architecture

Mausoleums with a conical, striped dome are emblematic of Yazidi sacred art. Extremely sober in terms of its architecture and decoration, this type of building is built on a cube structure which contains the tomb or cenotaph, covered by a slab with a drum, above which stands a conical dome composed of multiple crests. This vault symbolises the sun’s rays which light up the earth and humanity.

The pinnacle of the dome is systematically fitted with a bronze spire formed of one or more spheres, mounted with a ring, a crescent moon, and a celestial body or hand, around which swathes of coloured fabric are knotted.  The spire represents the cosmos, the planets, the sun and the stars created by God.  The coloured fabrics represented the colours of the rainbow. [1]

The interior of a Yazidi mausoleum is often composed of a separate chamber containing a sarcophagus covered in silk fabrics. There are also often several niches carved into the walls to burn incense and light the sacred fire. These often also contain knotted fabrics placed there by pilgrims making wishes.

The sacred space in any Yazidi mausoleum includes the slab in front and around it. That is why any visitor or pilgrim must remove their shoes.


[1] This interpretation can vary from one community to another.

The new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
Dome of the new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

Recent history and Yazidi demographics in Bashiqa and Bahzani

Although Bashiqa and Bahzani were already known to the Yazidi in the 12th century, and although there are no historical sources to confirm the supposition, it would appear that they only became part of their territory in the 13th century, when the Yazidi population left the Sheikhan region. This is backed up by the fact that the majority of the mausoleums located here are attributed to members of the second generation of the Chamsanis family, who lived in the second half of the 12th century.

Before ISIS invaded the Nineveh plain, there were 35,000 Yazidi living in Bashiqa and Bahzani[1].  They made up 85% of the population. The remainder was composed of 12% Christians and 3% Muslims. The lightening progression of ISIS in 2014 forced the inhabitants of Bashiqa and Bahzani to flee the area in haste in the night of the 6th and 7th August. The area was liberated on 7th November 2016 and the inhabitants began to return as of January 2017, in 2018 around 27,000 Yazidi had returned, around 77% of the initial Yazidi population[2]. A further 735 Yazidi displaced from Sinjar who were studying in Mosul and were separated from their families are now living here in displace persons camps[3]. Finally, 525 houses were damaged by ISIS, 200 of which were totally destroyed.

Situated at the heart of the Nineveh plain, between Mosul and Sheikhan, on the edges of Mount Maqlub[4], the urban area of Bashiqa and Bahzani had the third largest Yazidi population in Iraq prior to the Sinjar massacre.  Whilst Bahzani constitutes the ancient sector with numerous ancient buildings, Bashiqa is modern in appearance and is mainly composed of new buildings. The spatial organisation, history and heritage of the area was wiped out by ISIS. The jihadists who occupied the area from August 2014 and November 2016 not only destroyed the 22 Yazidi mausoleums in Bashiqa and Bahzani, but they also reduced the Yazidi libraries in the area to dust, including the library of master qawal[5] Bahzad Suleyman Safode Bahzani, member of the council of five dignitaries surrounding Baba Sheikh.  The Islamic assailants even burned down the famous sacred olive grove in Bahzani. This destruction was all the more devastating as Bashiqa and Bahzani were considered to be the intellectual centre of Yazidism in Iraq.

Remarkably, despite the extent of the damage, all 22 of the mausoleums destroyed by ISIS have been rebuilt, although many of the installations for which the region was renowned are still missing. The local Yazidi leaders told us that they received no financial support from the Iraqi government.  However, it would seem that the Yazidi diaspora in Germany has been of vital assistance.[6]


[1] The most recent census in Iraq dates back to 1987. It reported a total of over 16 million inhabitants. In September 2018, the website of the Iraqi embassy in France stated that the estimated population of Iraq was 33 million inhabitants. This wide variation means that any analysis should be conducted with caution. In addition, there are the age-old difficulties of integrating the demographic reality of the Yazidi population in Iraq. With no reliable information available, the demographic data in this file are provided by the leaders of the Yazidi community and should therefore also be treated with caution.

[2] Data collected in Bashiqa by the Mesopotamia team on 9th June 2018, from the Yazidi community leaders in Bashiqa.

[3] 9th June 2018.

[4] The major Syriac-Orthodox monastery of Mar Matta is situated on Mount Maqlub.

[5] A qawal is a singer and instrumentalist but also a preacher. They are responsible for worship but also for passing on the Yazidi spiritual and liturgical heritage.

[6] This was consistently reported by all the Yazidi leaders we met with in the towns and villages visited by the Mesopotamia representative in June 2018.

Map of the locations of the 16 mausoleums in Bashiqa and Bahzani.
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III
Three-level drum and dome of the new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani and view of the town of Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

The Yazidi mausoleums in Bahzani

Bahzani is home to 15 of the 22 mausoleums found in the Bashiqa-Bahzani urban area. All of these were blown up by ISIS. All of them have been rebuilt since the area was liberated. 90% of the gravestones were damaged with chisels. Some have been restored, renovated and replaced.

In Yazidi sacred architecture, the concept of space is expressed in separate, individual buildings. Although these were built for public use, they are separate from the residential spaces. Even in Bashiqa and Bahzani, where the majority of the Yazidi sacred spaces are located in the centre of the town, they are mostly built on hilltops, at a certain distance from the public spaces and are all systematically surrounded by a high-walled courtyard. With the exception of the mausoleum of Pîr Bûb, companion to the Yazidi reformer Sheikh Adi, all the mausoleums in Bashiqa and Bahzani are attributed to members of the Sheikh cast, and to the Chamsani line in particular.

Out of the 15 mausoleums in Bahzani, three are described here in detail: the mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani is presented as it stood prior to is destruction by ISIS and after its reconstruction, the mausoleums of Pîr Bûb and Sheikh Zeynal-Dîn are presented as they stood prior to their destruction.

 The mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani[1](description prior to its destruction by ISIS followed by a description post-reconstruction). It is located next to a cave where there used to be a spring. There are two Sheikh Abû Bekirs in Yazidi history. The first is the son of Sheikh Hasan ibn ‘Adî Şemsal-Dîn, and one of the seven Yazidi angels who lived in the 13th century. We believe that the Sheikh Abû Bekir concerned here is the second, who lived in the 14th – 15thcentury and from whom the line of the Qatani Sheikhs is derived. Apart from Mîr Alî Beg (20thcentury), Sheikh Abû Bekir is the only key person in Yazidi history identified as a member of the Quatanî family to whom mausoleums are attributed in Yazidi funeral architecture.[2]

The square floor plan of the mausoleum is characteristic of Bashiqa and Bahzani, and it is overlooked by a conical, segmented dome with squinches. We believe the building dates from the 14th century, like the majority of funeral buildings in the region.

The mausoleum is square-shaped and measures 5.9 x 5.9 metres. A rectangular door in the north wall provides access to the interior. The room is mounted by a dome which is raised with squinches on the interior. The north and west walls both contain niches. Two coffins, facing north to south, are placed in the centre of the room.  One of these is the sarcophagus of Sheikh Hams, the other of Yunus al Misrî.  The dome is conical in shape from the outside and is formed of 28 segments, it stands on a drum with columns which covers three levels.[3]

The mausoleum was dynamited during the occupation by ISIS, and in 2017 was rebuilt over a period of 6 – 8 months by volunteers, thanks to donations and with no government support. The new mausoleum has the same cubic structure as the original building. The dome is higher and more elongated. It has 40 segments. The entire building is covered in cut stones, surrounded by a vast esplanade, closed off with a perimeter wall with a gateway mounted with a reproduction of a peacock’s tail.

Around the mausoleum, regenerating the olive grove which was burned down by ISIS is a much more complex proposition. The olive farmers are trying to take cuttings from the younger plants saved from the fire. The irrigation channel which used to pass through the mausoleum was destroyed. The generator which pumped water from the ground was also destroyed.

The mausoleum of Pîr Bûb (description prior to its destruction by ISIS). Pîr Bûb was the son of Pîr Sîn of Bahzani. He is also known as Pîr Hecî Alî. This mausoleum is the only one attributed to a Pîr in Bahzani – Bashiqa. We believe the Pîrs had a similar amount of power to the Sheikhs at the time of the Adawits. However, the Sheikhs, and in particular those of the Chamsanî family, began to play a dominant role in the religion as of the 14th century. This is why we find several buildings dedicated to the Pîrs from the 12th and 13th centuries, but no later. In our opinion, Bahzani started to be inhabited by the Yazidi as of the end of the 13th century, but its influence increased during the 14th century with the Chamsanî family. There are mausoleums attributed to almost every known member of the Chamsanî family. As for the mausoleum of Pîr Bûb, it was probably built after his death. We believe that his mausoleum is one of the oldest buildings in Bahzani. It probably dates from the 13th century.

The mausoleum has a square floor plan measuring 5.3 x 5.7 metres. The interior is accessed via a lowered door surrounded by a rectangular frame. The semi-circular cupola is raised with squinches. The wall contains a rectangular niche, which was later turned into a window communicating with the outside. There is a sarcophagus positioned against the south wall, facing east to west. The platform where wicks are burned is situated in the north-west corner. The conical, segmented dome stands on a drum with columns covering three levels.  The first level is octagonal. The second and third levels are circular. The dome is composed of 32 segments.

The destruction of the mausoleum of Pîr Bûb in 2014 is all the more regrettable as it contained a large Yazidi library.

The mausoleum of Sheikh Zeynal-Dîn (description prior to its destruction by ISIS). This mausoleum is located on a hill in the buffer zone between Bahzani and Bashiqa, close to the mausoleum of Mîr Sicadîn (Sejadal-Dîn). The mausoleum is surrounded by a small cemetery.

Zeynal-Dîn Yusuf is the son of Sheikh Charafal-Dîn and the grandson of Hasan ibn ‘Adî Chams al-Dîn (1197-1254). He sought refuge in Damas after the Mongol invasion. He died in 1297 and was buried in Cairo in the zawiya which bears his name. The mausoleum in question was probably built at the start of the 14th century like most of the Yazidi mausoleums in this area.

It has a square floor plan. The interior is accessed via a lowered door outlined by a rectangular frame. The mausoleum is crowned with a conical dome with multiple segments on a two-level drum. The first level is octagonal and the second circular. There is a small opening in the octagonal drum. The conical dome is composed of 32 segments and is crowned with three spheres knotted with fabrics.

The mausoleum is coated in gypsum mortar known as “juss”. The exterior facades and the conical domes are covered in cut stones which are known locally as hallan.


[1] Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani is known as Sheikh Abû Bekir in the academic work of Dr. Açıkyıldız-Şengül.

[2] Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani is known locally as one of the most important Yazidi religious guides who lived at the time of Sheikh Adi in the 12thcentury. He is known as having started the line of Sheikhs from the Qatanî family.

[3] According to our guide, he was one of the Egyptian kings who came to Bezhanî on his way to Lalish but died here before he reached his end destination.

The ancient Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani prior to its destruction by ISIS.
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III
Interior and sarcophagus in the ancient Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani prior to its destruction by ISIS.
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III
The new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
The new Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
The irrigation channel destroyed by ISIS in front of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
Generator and pumps destroyed by ISIS in front of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
The olive grove burned down by ISIS in front of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
The olive grove burned down by ISIS in front of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
A sacred tree burned down by ISIS inside the estate of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
The Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Zeyn al Dîn in Bahzani prior to its destruction by ISIS.
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III
The Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Zeyn al Dîn in Bahzani prior to its destruction by ISIS.
© Dr. Birgül Açikyildiz-Şengül, universities of Oxford and Montpellier III

Testimony of Yazidi leaders in Bahzani

Bahzad Suleyman Safo[1]: “Rare books and libraries were burned in our mausoleums. The main example was the mausoleum of Pîr Bûb. The mausoleum of my father who was the leader of the Qawal after me, was also burned down in our own home. The source of our knowledge was here. We lost a lot of books but our religion is inside us. We are here and we are here to stay. This is our land. We have lived here since the beginning. Yazidism will last to the end.”

Nasr Hadj Kheder[2]: “There were 90,000 olive trees. They were all burned down. This also affected the olive farmers and tourism in the area. Bashiqa-Bahzani olives were highly reputed in Iraq and abroad. Iraq has lost something very important. The olive trees were very ancient. They were hundreds of years old.”


[1] Bahzad Suleyman Safo of Bahzani, member of the council of 5 dignitaries who supported Baba Sheikh. 9th June 2018.

[2] Source: Nasr hadj Kheder is a Yazidi journalist and activist. 9th June 2018.

Qawal Bahzad Suleyman Safo in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA
Nasr Hadj Kheder in front of the Yazidi mausoleum of Sheikh Bakeur al Qatani in Bahzani.
June 2018 © Pascal Maguesyan / MESOPOTAMIA

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