SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— A Kurdish Islamic cleric from the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) — better known as Komal— has declared that the killing of those converting into Zoroastrianism as religiously legitimate.
In an interview with BBC’s Persian Service, Mulla Hassib from Sulaimani says the Kurdish Muslims who are leaving Islam to join Zoroastrianism and another religion, must be given a period of three days to regret their decision or “they must be killed, executed”.
However, the cleric bounds the implementation of such harsh punishments to an Islamic rule running the state. He further explains that what the Islamic State (IS) is doing is partially correct and in accordance with the Islamic studies, but he criticizes them only for trying to spread the religion by means of violence.
With the peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious diversity being exercised for a long time in the region, Mulla Hassib’s remarks have sparked a widespread outrage among people and heated debates on the social media, mainly slamming his views which are being compared to those of the IS jihadists in Raqqa and Mosul.
In reaction to the report, Pir Luqman, the leader of Zoroastrians in Kurdistan Region issued a statement to decry Mulla Hassib’s remarks which are described as “Ideologies of terrorism and approaches against the freedom among Kurds.”
Pir Luqman also called on Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs and the Public prosecution to face the cleric with charges for his threatening ideology. “We as Zoroastrians will certainly file a complaint against him,” reads the statement.
As the Zoroastrian leader says, those who are converting from Islam into Zoroastrianism are “returning to the religion of their ancestors.”
He vows to not step back from the rights of their community, and to continue inviting people to “return to Zoroastrianism”.
Kurdistan Region, known as the most secular region in the Middle East, is home to Muslims (Sunnis and Shi’ites), Christians, Yazidis, Kakayis, Zoroastrians and several other ethnic and religious minorities who have been living in peace for centuries. However, with the emergence of the Sunni hardliner organization of IS in Iraq and Syria, KRG intensified overseeing the Islamic movements taking privilege of the freedom provided in Kurdistan Region. Many Islamic clerics have so far been banned from delivering religious sermons for harsh preaches in their speech for the public.