IRAN: Persian names and Islam

Regarding Nushin Namazi's posting about religion in Iran,  Randy Black writes: I would like to add the comments of another Persian whom I have known for more than three decades. He is a naturalized US citizen from Iran and a professor at a university in the US South. I forwarded the comments from Ms. Namazi to him. The following is his response:
It is nice to hear from you about a thought provoking subject.  I had to think for a while to answer your interesting questions.  To say that Iranians are abandoning Islam and converting to Christianity and Zoroastrianism is like saying that American Christians are converting to Judaism.  As you know, this is not so.  Jews could not care less if others convert to Judaism and do not recruit converts.  Iranian Christians (Armenians, Apostolic, and Assyrians), like Zoroastrians and Jews, are a very small minority in Iran. They have representatives in parliament.  However, they could care not less about others converting to Christianity, and they do not promote the action. They have a "leave us alone" attitude.

As you know 98% of Iranians are Moslems; some are very religious and some are not.  This is not a new phenomenon.  For example, my family was not and is not a religious family.  Every member of my family has a Persian name and we are all Moslems.  On the other hand, if the religious right comes to power in the US and tries to shove religion down our throats, we'll resist.  A similar thing is happening in Iran, where the religious right is forcing people to go to Mosques and pray. People are resisting. Nushin Namazi is right: people do hate some Mullahs.  In the US, some people hate Jerry Fawell, Jimmy Swaggart, etc. This does not mean they are converting to other religions, however.

RH: There is a big difference. The Mullahs rule Iran, whereas Jerry and Jimmy do not rule the US.  Or am I uninformed?  In any case, Zoroaster deserves an important place in history, which he is not usually accorded.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: January 16, 2005