Kurds Zoroastrian Persia Day


Islam so repugnant locals rediscovering what was before islam (BI).

According to local media reports, around 10,000 have converted to Zoroastrianism in the last year alone.  Some local media reports purport this figure to be as high as 100,000.


Mullah Abbas Khidir Faraj, preacher at Awal Bakrajo Mosque and Head of Public Relations for the Islamic Scholars Union in Sulaimania, concedes that ISIL has had a negative impact on the public’s perception of Islam.

The curious rebirth of Zoroastrianism in Iraqi Kurdistan


Lara Fatah is a communications consultant based in Iraqi Kurdistan. She is also a PS21 global fellow.

Faced with the barbaric actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on their doorstep, a growing number of Kurds, particularly among the youth, are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the various interpretations of Islam on offer in the region.

There is an age-old Zoroastrian mantra: “Good words, good thoughts and good actions.”

It still holds for the small but growing number of Zoroastrians living in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

While some look to secular, Western cultural ideals, others are looking to the past and exploring ancient Kurdish beliefs. Up until the seventh century Islamic conquests, Kurds across the region were followers of various pre-Abrahamic faiths, such as Zoroastrianism and Yazidism.

In August this year, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officially recognised Zoroastrianism as a religion. The move elicited mixed reactions.

According to local media reports, around 10,000 have converted to Zoroastrianism in the last year alone.  Some local media reports purport this figure to be as high as 100,000.

The search for identity

Kurds across the Middle East have generally clung to their ethnic identity rather than their religion. Though Islam has played a more pivotal role in marking out regional identities in recent years, this has not really been the case among Kurds. Islamic parties usually garner only 10-15 percent of the vote in the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kurdish Provincial council elections.

With the Kurdish identity and culture under threat from ISIL, the perceived “Kurdishness” of Zoroastrianism adds to its appeal.

“All Kurds are nationalists and we take pride in our heritage, so of course the Kurdish nature of the religion influenced my decision to convert,” says Shwan Rahman, a recent convert to Zoroastrianism.

More here. H/T:  Retweeted  

2 Responses

  1. A lot of Iranians that I’ve spoken to (some Persian, some Kurdish) view Islam as a legacy of brutal Arab colonialism. An interest for pre-islam culture such as Zoroastrianism and pre-islamic poetry seems very common as a part of a nationalism that for these people replace islam as a unifying force. I suspect that conversions Zoroastrianism may be about it being better to replace something with something rather than replacing something with nothing.

    A Kurdish/Kurdish-Persian Zoroastrian temple opened in Sollentuna in Stockholm back in 2012 – supposedly the first new Zoroastrian temple in more than a thousand years. I put a link about that event (English) in the “website” field.

  2. I hope this turn to Zoroastrianism results in more equality for women and the acceptance and protection of LGBT people in Kurdistan thus setting the stone towards a proggressive and modern society, an example of tolerance and equality for the rest of the Middle east.

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