Thursday, September 07, 2006

From Zero To Zoroastrian In Iran

Over at The Corner--the blog for The National Review--John J. Miller quotes from Wednesday's New York Times about the future of Zoroastrians:

“We were once at least 40, 50 million — can you imagine?” said Mr. Antia, senior priest at the fire temple here in suburban Chicago. “At one point we had reached the pinnacle of glory of the Persian Empire and had a beautiful religious philosophy that governed the Persian kings.

“Where are we now? Completely wiped out,” he said. “It pains me to say, in 100 years we won’t have many Zoroastrians.”

There is a palpable panic among Zoroastrians today — not only in the United States, but also around the world — that they are fighting the extinction of their faith, a monotheistic religion that most scholars say is at least 3,000 years old.

A little later, Michael Ledeen responds:
Thanks to John Miller for the latest silliness from the NYT, which seems not to know that there is a vast Zoroastrian revival under way in Iran. As I have written from time to time, Islam is very unpopular in Iran nowadays (mosques are empty for Friday prayers; a few weeks ago there were less than a dozen people in the main mosque in Shiraz, according to an ayatollah friend of mine), but Zoroastrianism is surging. Just look at the fire festival for No Rooz, the ancient new year celebration, which the regime has been unable to quash.
Assuming Ledeen is right, so what?

First, I assume that anything that weakens the hold Islam has on Iran, and distracts the Iranian leaders, can only be a positive thing--both for the US and Israel.

Also: Can Iran realistically expect to reach its goal of becoming the leading Islamic power if it is in reality nothing more than a 97-pound Islamic weakling?

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