Fed Up With Islam and Sectarianism, Some Iraqis Embrace Zoroastrianism

SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq — One of the smallest and oldest religions in the world is experiencing a revival in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The religion has deep Kurdish roots—it was founded by Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, who was born in the Kurdish part of Iran 3,500 years ago, and the religion’s sacred book, the Avesta, was written in an ancient language from which the Kurdish language derives.

In this century, however, it is estimated that there are only around 190,000 believers in the world. After Islam became the dominant religion in the region during the 7th century, Zoroastrianism more or less disappeared.

Until—quite possibly—now.

For the first time in over a thousand years, locals in a rural part of Sulaymaniyah province conducted an ancient ceremony on May 1, whereby followers put on a special belt that signifies they are ready to serve the religion and observe its tenets…

  • Dana Garcia

    Cool, now if we could just interest Egyptians in Osiris…

    • Alain

      They were the original and real Egyptians who were replaced by the Muslim invaders.

      • Norman_In_New_York

        By the time the original Egyptians were replaced by Muslim invaders, they had already dumped Osiris in favor of Christ.

        • Zaba

          Well before, since islam took the ME starting in the 630’s.

      • Zaba

        Some think they are the Copts.

  • Brett_McS

    It’s the ‘native’ religion of much of Iran (Persia) as well.

  • Clink9

    Dr. Evil knew a Zoroastrian named Vilma …..


  • Alain

    That would be a great improvement over Islam. Even witchcraft would be an improvement.

    • Zaba

      It’s a good thing we are now in the Age of Peak islam……..

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Cyrus embraced Zoroastrianism at the time he built the Persian Empire.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    How long before they are all butchered?
    Over/under odds they survive less than a year?

    • El Martyachi

      Either way there’s an excellent B-movie “based on true events” horror script in there.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Survivor, Zoroaster edition!
        The last Zoroastrian!
        Zoroaster vs. Mohammed, the reckoning!

        If I didn’t think it would negate my own Christian beliefs, I’d love to see a very pissed-off Zoroaster return and lay down a whole Ghostbusters like smack down on the entire M.E., especially in the form of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. That part would be pretty cool!

        “Zoroaster The Destructor” does have kind of a nice ring to it too!

  • How Silly

    Zoroastrianism didn’t ‘disappear’. It was cleansed from the land where it was born. This is how Islam reacts to all different belief systems.

    The only reason the Christians and Jews even survived is:

    The vast number of them;
    Muslims needed the slave Christians and Jews for their labor and taxes.

    The greatest warriors in the Ottoman army were European Christian children taken from their families and raised as Muslims.

    • Zaba


      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      The Janissaries were chosen at about age six among the Christian boys, mostly Greeks, living in Anatolia and the Balkan peninsula to become the elite fighting force of the Ottoman Empire. A portion of these selected children, as they were considered to be more talented, received a higher standard of education to become the ruling class of viziers as well as engineers, architects, physicians and scientists.

      The Janissaries (Ottoman Turkish: يڭيچرى‎ yeniçeri, meaning “new soldier”) were elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan’s household troops and bodyguards. Sultan Murad I created the force in 1383. The number of Janissaries grew from 20,000 in 1575, to 49,000 (1591), dropped to a low of 17,000 (1648), then rebounded to 135,000 in 1826.[3]

      They began as an elite corps of slaves recruited from young Christian boys, and became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order. By 1620 they were hereditary and corrupt and an impediment to reform.[4] The corps was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed.[5]

  • Exile1981

    My first boss out of college was a Zorastrian and I owe him a lot for everything he taught me.

    • Was he Iranian?

      • Exile1981

        He was from India, evidently he told me that back when the muslims invaded persia his ancestors fled east and ended up in india, then in the early 1980’s a bunch of them fled to Canada as the local muslims started burning down their homes. He retired last year after a long career and having mentored a huge number of the industry. He was awarded a lifetime achievement award by our organization a few years ago.

  • Islam in Iran is dead. It is not practiced by the masses any more. More and more Iranians convert to Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Atheism and Buddhism. So Iraq, which once was part of the Persian empire, is going the same way. The only possible way to civilize the Middle East is to forcefully convert their people to something other than Islam.

    • Zaba

      Yes, islam must go!

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
      One of Ann Coulter’s best quotes