On February 26, 2001, the Dayton Daily News reported on the concerns of members of the religious community and others "about how [Bush's new faith-based initiative] would work. They
fear a blurring of the First Amendment-sanctioned line between religion and
state. They wonder about the possibility of religious groups' misusing tax
dollars to woo converts, religious institutions losing autonomy, and the
government slighting less mainstream religions." Another concern is that Bush may be "attempting to 'push the burden on the...
On January 8, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that "2,200 Zoroastrians from 18 countries gathered [in Houston] for the Seventh World
Zoroastrian Congress--their largest gathering ever...Zoroastrianism originated in ancient Persia between 1400 and 1000
prophet, Zoroaster, taught people to worship one god, Ahura Mazda, and to
believe in good and evil spirits and in heaven and hell. In its prime, the faith had millions of followers...The community today does not
surpass 250,000." This...
On January 1, 2001, The New York Times reported that 1100 years ago, many Zoroastrians fled from Iran to India. Now a "second diaspora" is progressing, as Zoroastrians migrate around the globe. Because there are only 200,000 Zoroastrians left worldwide and because interfaith marriages are common, many worry that the scattered members of this faith will assimilate into the surrounding culture: "we're not living in proximity, in the neighborhoods we had in India," said one. The Zoroastrian religion dates back about three thousand...
On December 23, 2000, The Houston Chronicle
reported the meeting of the Seventh World Zoroastrian
Congress in Houston. On the agenda was the issue of
"keeping the faith alive" among the
shrinking numbers of Zoroastrians worldwide.
Facing "challenges from cultural
assimilation and intermarriage with people of
other faiths," membership has shrunk to 250,000, 500 of whom live in the
Houston area. "More than 2,000 people from more than 15 countries, including Iran, India,
France, Germany and Bangladesh, will attend the...
On August 28, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that "Southern California's Zoroastrian community celebrated its new year last week...Azrir Bhandara, 37, a Zoroastrian priest, welcomed a dozen of the faithful Wednesday to his Irvine home, where he set out a white sheet on which he and the others knelt in prayer...Before beginning, Bhandara covered his mouth with a white scarf. 'When you pray,' he said, 'there is a possibility of spray coming out of your lips, but it shouldn't get into the sacred fire.'
On November 7, 1998, the Star Tribune published an
article on how Zoroastrians are using the Internet to help spread the
message of their religion. With approximately 140,000 worldwide
adherents, Zoroastrians are trying to create "virtual" communities in
order to preserve their faith. Joe Peterson, architect of one of the
largest Zoroastrian web sites -
www.avesta.org, lives in Kasson, MN and
works for IBM in Rochester, MN. He is one of 60 to 70 Zoroastrians
living in Minnesota.
From April 10-12, the Zoroastrian Association of Houston held their gala opening of the Zarathushti Heritage and Cultural Center. The Association Chairman, Rustom B. Engineer, wrote the following in the Inaugural publication: "...this center will always be a tribute to our community's commitment to the Zarathushti way of life in our new adopted land. We are at a very significant juncture in time and place. After hundreds of years of religious perseverance and migrations, the followers of Ahura Mazda have finally managed to reassemble at...