Zoroastrians condemn Islamist cleric who called killing of apostates ‘legitimate’

Zoroastrian representatives outside Sulaimani Court to file complaint against Islamist cleric Mulla Hasib, 5 February 2017, (RojNews)

Representatives of Zoroastrian groups on Sunday condemned comments by an Islamist cleric who said the killing of Muslims who had converted to Zoroastrianism was “legitimate”.

Mulla Hasib, a cleric from Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, declared in a BBC interview that Kurds who leave Islam to convert to Zoroastrianism should be killed. The cleric said apostates “must be given a period of three days to regret their decision or they must be killed, executed”.

Convening outside the Sulaimani Court on Sunday, Awat Husameddin, the representative of Zoroastrians at the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs and others made a public statement saying, “according to Mulla Hasib Zoroastrianism is a religion that does not belong to Kurdistan and was imposed on Kurds. Conversely, Mulla Hasib believes that some of what Daesh [IS] is doing is right.”

Awat went onto state that Zoroastrianism, like other monotheistic religions, had been officially recognised in 2015 and placed in the 5th article of the constitution. “These words are a violation of Kurdistan Regional Government laws. Mulla Hasib has openly called for the genocide Zoroastrians on media.”

The Zoroastrian representatives said they would make an official complaint to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.

According to a report on BasNews, Mariwan Naqshbandi, a ministry official, said the controversial cleric would be questioned for his statements and legal action taken. The officials also said that statement’s such as Hasib’s would not be tolerated in the Kurdistan Region “as every individual has the right, according the law, to practice his or her religion freely.”