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The death of the Mir
For 73 years he led Yazidi community

The death of the Mir
Prince Tahseen died last week


Peregraf - Renwar Najim

Tahseen Begg (Mir Tahseen) has been the prince (leader) of Yazidis in the world for 73 years until he died last week at the age of 86. His body is established to reach the Kurdistan Region on Monday (4th of February). His ascension to princedom remains an incredible story, but who shall replace him?

There is around one million Yazidis in the world, mostly residing in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, around Shiakhan and Shangal in Ninawa province. Their shrines are mostly located in these two towns.

The leader of Yazidis is called Meer, which is best translated to ‘the prince’, while Baba Sheikh is the religious leader of the Yazidis, best translated to ‘the elder father’.

Baba Sheikh issued a rare fatwa owing to ISIS

Yazidis have their own norms and rules, especially for marriage. If a Yazidi girl marries someone from another religion, she is considered an infidel, whether she regrets it or not. She will never be considered a Yazidi as there is no forgiveness for them.

In August 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) captured Sinjar (also called Shangal) and took thousands of Yazidi men, women and children. Most of the women were forcibly married to ISIS militants, and some served as concubines. The fate of thousands is still unknown.

However, what happened to the women who survived this?

Sheikh Kharto Hajji Ismael was the religious leader of the Yazidis, called Baba Sheikh. He issued a fatwa calling all Yazidis to welcome Yazidi survivors, "Treat them as if nothing happened, as what happened was beyond their own will."

Many families received their daughters and wives after the fatwa, but some of them had been adamant to approve of them.  Baba Sheikh called the latter "ignorant".

Yazidis have faced 74 genocide attempts in their history. They call such genocides as farman, best translated to "order". One of them had been 150 years ago, when Ottomans took more than 1,200 Yazidi women and distributed them to army commanders and soldiers. Baba Sheikh said if the religious authority could have reached the girls back then, they would have issued a similar fatwa for them.

A woman made Tahseen Begg both prince and parliamentarian

While Baba Sheikh manages the religious affairs for Yazidis, the prince (or Meer) manages the secular affairs and is considered as the leader of all Yazidis.

Tahseen Begg was the Meer of Yazidis until 28 January 2019 when he died in Hanover, Germany. Now Yazidis have no Meer.

Lady Miyan and Prince Tahseen

Tahseen Saeed Ali Begg was born on 15 August 1933 in Baadre, Shaikhan district. He was only eleven when his father died in 1944, and his grandmother blessed him as the Meer of Yazidis.

His grandmother, Lady Miyan, was an influential woman among Yazidis, despite being completely illiterate, unable to read or write at all. After her husband was killed, she supported her son (father of Prince Tahseen) to manage the affairs of Yazidis. She was the actual ruler, dealing with daily issues of Yazidis and managing the tribal affairs. She continued to do so until her death in 1956.

The great grandfather of Prince Tahseen was killed by the Ottomans in 1846, around 117km north of Erbil. A waterfall has been named after him: Ali Begg Waterfall, in Rawanduz. Yazidis had faced mass murder and prosecution under the Ottomans, as they were seen as non-Muslims, living under an Islamic caliphate.

When Saeed Begg died in 1944, Tahseen had been only eleven. His age prevented him from being recognized as a leader, and he could not enter the Iraqi parliament as the representative of the Yazidis. However, his grandmother, Lady Miyan, helped him to be recognized as the Yazidi leader and even a member of parliament. She persuaded the Yazidi religious leader to accept him, and increased his recorded age in the Ministry of Interior, to enter parliament. Until she died in 1956, she was the actual ruler of all Yazidis and supported the successful development of her grandson.

 

Lady Miyan

Prince and Barzanis: a strong relationship

With his age, Prince Tahseen became one of the most influential Yazidi princes in history. He had a strong relationship with the Barzanis, and personally with Mustafa Barzani when he was still alive. When Prince Tahseen was arrested by the new Iraqi government and exiled to the south of Iraq, Mustafa Barzani helped to get him released. Prince Tahseen supported Barzani's revolution until the latter died in 1975. He left Iraq when Barzani died, and returned to the Kurdistan Region in 1991, when a Kurdish autonomous region was created.

Prince of Yazidis call of Secularism

Prince Tahseen had reiterated that Yazidis are ethnic-Kurds, but asked for the protection of their Kurmanji dialect, which is the language of their religion as well. However, in September 2016, Prince Tahseen said in an interview with BBC that they have several demands from the Kurdish authorities. If their demands are met, he said, they prefer to join the Kurdistan Region, otherwise, they will join Iraqi administration. The demands included self-administration for Sinjar, which is predominantly Yazidi. Although he was the prince of a religious group, he believed their rights would be better protected by a secular government.

Prince Tahseen, 13 years old (1964(

Who replaces the prince?

Some researchers and authors consider the time of Prince Tahseen to have been the best era for Yazidis. Prince Tahseen has been able to reach the world and introduce the Yazidis, including the Catholic Pope. He cared for education and secured seats for Yazidis in both Iraqi and Kurdish parliament. Yazidis were able to obtain important government positions as well.

According to the Yazidi norms, the prince of Yazidis should be from the family of princes. Prince Tahseen has reportedly nominated his son, Hatam, as replacement, before his death. The Higher Council of Yazidis will meet in the near future to appoint a new prince.

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The death of the Mir

2019-02-05 11:38:22


Peregraf - Renwar Najim

Tahseen Begg (Mir Tahseen) has been the prince (leader) of Yazidis in the world for 73 years until he died last week at the age of 86. His body is established to reach the Kurdistan Region on Monday (4th of February). His ascension to princedom remains an incredible story, but who shall replace him?

There is around one million Yazidis in the world, mostly residing in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, around Shiakhan and Shangal in Ninawa province. Their shrines are mostly located in these two towns.

The leader of Yazidis is called Meer, which is best translated to ‘the prince’, while Baba Sheikh is the religious leader of the Yazidis, best translated to ‘the elder father’.

Baba Sheikh issued a rare fatwa owing to ISIS

Yazidis have their own norms and rules, especially for marriage. If a Yazidi girl marries someone from another religion, she is considered an infidel, whether she regrets it or not. She will never be considered a Yazidi as there is no forgiveness for them.

In August 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) captured Sinjar (also called Shangal) and took thousands of Yazidi men, women and children. Most of the women were forcibly married to ISIS militants, and some served as concubines. The fate of thousands is still unknown.

However, what happened to the women who survived this?

Sheikh Kharto Hajji Ismael was the religious leader of the Yazidis, called Baba Sheikh. He issued a fatwa calling all Yazidis to welcome Yazidi survivors, "Treat them as if nothing happened, as what happened was beyond their own will."

Many families received their daughters and wives after the fatwa, but some of them had been adamant to approve of them.  Baba Sheikh called the latter "ignorant".

Yazidis have faced 74 genocide attempts in their history. They call such genocides as farman, best translated to "order". One of them had been 150 years ago, when Ottomans took more than 1,200 Yazidi women and distributed them to army commanders and soldiers. Baba Sheikh said if the religious authority could have reached the girls back then, they would have issued a similar fatwa for them.

A woman made Tahseen Begg both prince and parliamentarian

While Baba Sheikh manages the religious affairs for Yazidis, the prince (or Meer) manages the secular affairs and is considered as the leader of all Yazidis.

Tahseen Begg was the Meer of Yazidis until 28 January 2019 when he died in Hanover, Germany. Now Yazidis have no Meer.

Lady Miyan and Prince Tahseen

Tahseen Saeed Ali Begg was born on 15 August 1933 in Baadre, Shaikhan district. He was only eleven when his father died in 1944, and his grandmother blessed him as the Meer of Yazidis.

His grandmother, Lady Miyan, was an influential woman among Yazidis, despite being completely illiterate, unable to read or write at all. After her husband was killed, she supported her son (father of Prince Tahseen) to manage the affairs of Yazidis. She was the actual ruler, dealing with daily issues of Yazidis and managing the tribal affairs. She continued to do so until her death in 1956.

The great grandfather of Prince Tahseen was killed by the Ottomans in 1846, around 117km north of Erbil. A waterfall has been named after him: Ali Begg Waterfall, in Rawanduz. Yazidis had faced mass murder and prosecution under the Ottomans, as they were seen as non-Muslims, living under an Islamic caliphate.

When Saeed Begg died in 1944, Tahseen had been only eleven. His age prevented him from being recognized as a leader, and he could not enter the Iraqi parliament as the representative of the Yazidis. However, his grandmother, Lady Miyan, helped him to be recognized as the Yazidi leader and even a member of parliament. She persuaded the Yazidi religious leader to accept him, and increased his recorded age in the Ministry of Interior, to enter parliament. Until she died in 1956, she was the actual ruler of all Yazidis and supported the successful development of her grandson.

 

Lady Miyan

Prince and Barzanis: a strong relationship

With his age, Prince Tahseen became one of the most influential Yazidi princes in history. He had a strong relationship with the Barzanis, and personally with Mustafa Barzani when he was still alive. When Prince Tahseen was arrested by the new Iraqi government and exiled to the south of Iraq, Mustafa Barzani helped to get him released. Prince Tahseen supported Barzani's revolution until the latter died in 1975. He left Iraq when Barzani died, and returned to the Kurdistan Region in 1991, when a Kurdish autonomous region was created.

Prince of Yazidis call of Secularism

Prince Tahseen had reiterated that Yazidis are ethnic-Kurds, but asked for the protection of their Kurmanji dialect, which is the language of their religion as well. However, in September 2016, Prince Tahseen said in an interview with BBC that they have several demands from the Kurdish authorities. If their demands are met, he said, they prefer to join the Kurdistan Region, otherwise, they will join Iraqi administration. The demands included self-administration for Sinjar, which is predominantly Yazidi. Although he was the prince of a religious group, he believed their rights would be better protected by a secular government.

Prince Tahseen, 13 years old (1964(

Who replaces the prince?

Some researchers and authors consider the time of Prince Tahseen to have been the best era for Yazidis. Prince Tahseen has been able to reach the world and introduce the Yazidis, including the Catholic Pope. He cared for education and secured seats for Yazidis in both Iraqi and Kurdish parliament. Yazidis were able to obtain important government positions as well.

According to the Yazidi norms, the prince of Yazidis should be from the family of princes. Prince Tahseen has reportedly nominated his son, Hatam, as replacement, before his death. The Higher Council of Yazidis will meet in the near future to appoint a new prince.