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Zoroastrianism in Iraq seeks official recognition

Al-Monitor interviewed Zoroastrian spiritual leader in Iraq Peer Luqman Haji, who spoke about the resurgence of this millennia-old religion, the challenges and the need for tolerance in a region plagued by growing religious radicalism.
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SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Zoroastrianism is the world’s oldest religion based on divine revelation and served as the state religion of three great Iranian empires for 12 centuries, from the sixth century B.C. until the seventh century.

While religious diversity is now facing an imminent demise in Middle Eastern countries — especially in Syria and Iraq — the events following the rise of the Islamic State (IS) and its threat to this diversity has made it easier for the adherents of Zoroastrianism to reveal themselves after they had hidden their religion for 15 centuries, when many converted to Islam in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Iraq.

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