Iranian Kurdistan: Kakai Forced To Flee as Result of Discrimination
Many Iranian Kurds who follow the Yarsan faith, known as Kakai, are being forced to leave Iran due to serious discrimination. Denied rights and kept out of positions of political power, the Kakai have protested for many years, most notably in a spate of self-immolations in 2013.
Read the full article, published by Rudaw, below:
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Hundreds of Iranian followers of the Yarsan faith, known as Kakai, have joined the new wave of migration to Europe, leaving behind a country that has failed to recognize their ancient religion, asylum seekers told Rudaw.
“There are many more of us now leaving Iran because of the systematic discrimination against us,” a young Kurdish Kakai told Rudaw in a refugee camp in Germany who wished to be unnamed.
The Kakai, also called Ahl-e-Haqq or “People of Truth,” reportedly number about one million around the world and the faith is mostly practiced among Kurds. The followers live predominantly in western Iran and in smaller numbers in Iraq.
“We are regarded as an lower class with basically no rights or government positions,” said another Kakai who also asked anonymity.
In 2013, Kakai in Iran staged protests and acts of self-immolation after prison guards violated a religious rule by shaving off the moustache of a Kurdish Kakai inmate.
One fellow Yarsan who set himself on fire in protest outside the mayor’s office in the Iranian city of Hamadan died in hospital of severe burns.
Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians are recognized in the constitution of the Islamic Republic, but Yarsan is not considered a legal entity.
The religion has been called a “false cult” by the government and accused of falsifying Islam.
Photo credit Hamed Masoumi @ Flickr