Tîrêja Rojê (Ray of the Sun), Preservation of Yazidi Culture and Religion
The Yazidis, an ethno-religious group indigenous to northern Mesopotamia, have suffered violent oppression and persecution for generations .
With an oral tradition rather than a written scripture, the Yazidi religion is oral. In ISIL’s view, this puts Yazidis above both Christians and Jews in terms of despised unbelievers —a notoriety that has led to indiscriminate killing.
This continuous threat has forced thousands of Yazidis to seek asylum in Europe. “People have gone out of fear of attacks or fear of racism. This makes it hard to protect the faith,” said Baba Shikh, the Yazidis’ spiritual leader. The oral tradition of the Yazidi religion makes it particularly vulnerable to disappearing.
In order to help preserve Yazidi tradition and culture, Yazda runs “Tîrêja Rojê” (Ray of the Sun), an initiative designed to organize spaces for older generation Yazidis to pass on their sacred traditions, songs and poems with younger generations Yazidis. These sessions provide spiritual encouragement, instill a sense of cultural self-worth, and ultimately revive hope that ISIL has not succeeded in its mission of Yazidi extermination. Additionally, older generation Yazidis engrain key positive, productive messages in the younger generation Yazidis like encouragement to welcome back female ISIL enslavement survivors with dignity and respect, as well as the discouragement of revenge killing.
Three kinds of expenses exist for the project: securing locations, supporting religious teachers with an income, and funding for transportation. Ongoing funding will be required to ensure the current project maintenance and future growth.