After the Last 'Firman'

Victimhood, Survival and Societal Transformation among the Yazidis

Principal Investigators: Zeynep Kaya, Güneş Murat Tezcür, Bayar Mustafa Sevdeen
Duration: March 2018 – May 2019
Supported by: Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI)

Sharya Camp for Yazidi IDPs, Duhok (credit: Zeynep Kaya)

The self-styled Islamic State’s (IS) violence against the Yazidis - a religious community with historical roots in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq - in the summer of 2014 has been unprecedented even by IS' own vicious standards. Thousands of Yazidis were summarily executed; large numbers of women and children were taken hostages and subsequently sold as slaves. While the Yazidis have historically developed a strong sense of existential threat perception as a marginalised minority, the IS assault has pushed the community to the brink of survival. Most of Sinjar remains inhabitable and many surviving Yazidis continue their existence as displaced people and refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan and Western countries.

This project is a collaboration between LSE, the University of Central Florida and the American University of Kurdistan. It brings together three scholars from the United States, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the United Kingdom to offer a unique social science perspective on the Yazidi religious community in the wake of genocidal violence. While IS atrocities against the Yazidis have received significant media attention, their lingering effects on Yazidi beliefs and norms, on gender relations among the survivors, and on inter-communal relations between Yazidis remain unexplored. This project addresses a series of questions about these three dimensions of Yazidi religion by empirically focusing on the lived experience of Yazidis.

Project Outputs

Research Team

Zeynep Kaya

Zeynep Kaya | Principal Investigator 

Zeynep is Research Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre and the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security.


Güneş Murat Tezcür | Principal Investigator 

Güneş is Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies & Professor at the University of Central Florida.


Bayar Mustafa Sevdeen | Principal Investigator 

Bayar is Assistant Professor at the American University of Kurdistan.



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