Kurdish Muslims abandoning Islam for Zoroastrianism

There is a return to ancient religions in Mesopotamia as of late.

From Middle East Magazine:

...this century it is estimated that there are only around 190,000 believers in the world – as 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. It would be akin to a baptism in the Christian faith.
The newly pledged Zoroastrians have said that they will organise similar ceremonies elsewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan and they have also asked permission to build up to 12 temples inside the region, which has its own borders, military and Parliament. Zoroastrians are also visiting government departments in Iraqi Kurdistan and they have asked that Zoroastrianism be acknowledged as a religion officially. They even have their own anthem and many locals are attending Zoroastrian events and responding to Zoroastrian organisations and pages on social media.

Further quoted in the article, they interviewed residents of the local area about what this was all about.

As one believer, Dara Aziz, said: “I really hope our temples will open soon so that we can return to our authentic religion."
“This religion will restore the real culture and religion of the Kurdish people,” says Luqman al-Haj Karim, a senior representative of Zoroastrianism and head of the Zoroastrian organisation, Zand, who believes that his belief system is more “Kurdish” than most. “The revival is a part of a cultural revolution, that gives people new ways to explore peace of mind, harmony and love,” he insists.
In fact, Zoroastrians believe that the forces of good and evil are continually struggling in the world – this is why many locals also suspect that this religious revival has more to do with the security crisis caused by the extremist group known as the Islamic State, as well as deepening sectarian and ethnic divides in Iraq, than any needs expressed by locals for something to believe in.

Kurds

Source: MiddleEastMagazineOnline

Dinshaw and Hutoxy wrote in "Zoroastrianism: History, Beliefs, and Practices," originally printed in the January - February 2003 issue of Quest magazine:

Zoroastrianism, although the smallest of the major religions of the world in the number of its adherents, is historically one of the most important. Its roots are in the proto-Indo-European spirituality that also produced the religions of India. It was the first of the world’s religions to be founded by an inspired prophetic reformer. It was influential on Mahayana Buddhism and especially on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. To the latter three, Zoroastrianism bequeathed such concepts as a cosmic struggle between right and wrong, the primacy of ethical choice in human life, monotheism, a celestial hierarchy of spiritual beings (angels, archangels) that mediate between God and humanity, a judgment for each individual after death, the coming of a Messiah at the end of this creation, and an apocalypse culminating in the final triumph of Good at the end of the historical cycle.

History

Zoroaster was the Persian prophet on whose teachings the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism is based. The name by which he is commonly known in the West is from the Greek form of his original name,Zarathushtra, which means “Shining Light.”

The article also goes on to explain how a Zoroastrian would view life after death and the world.

Worldview

Zoroastrianism views the world as having been created by Ahura Mazda and as meant to evolve to perfection according to the law or plan of Asha, the divine order of things. The law of Asha is the principle of righteousness or “rightness” by which all things are exactly what they should be. In their most basic prayer, the “Ashem Vohu,” repeated every day, Zoroastrians affirm this law of Asha: “Righteousness is the highest virtue. Happiness to him who is righteous for the sake of righteousness.” This is the central concept in the Zoroastrian religion: Asha is the ultimate Truth, the ideal of what life and existence should be.

According to the Zoroastrian tradition, after the death of the body, the soul remains in this world for three days and nights, in the care of Sraosha, one of the Yazatas or angels. During this period, prayers are said and rituals performed to assure a safe passage of the soul into the spiritual realm. On the dawn of the fourth day, the spirit is believed to have crossed over to the other world, where it arrives at the allegorical Chinvat Bridge.