History of Zoroastrians after Arab Invasion
The History of Zoroastrians after Arab Invasion; Alien in Their Homeland
By: Dr. Daryoush Jahanian
Presented at the North American Zoroastrian Congress in San Francisco 1996
and the World Zoroastrian congress in Houston 2000-2001
Abstract: This is only a fraction of what actually happened to the Zoroastrians after the Arab invasion. The purpose of the presentation is not to generate hard feeling toward any people. Because no generation is responsible for the actions of past generations, although almost always they are unfairly blamed for. However, denial of historical facts is not an option either. The real goal in addition to presentation of an untold history is to make our community aware of their past history and the suffering and indignities that their ancestors received to preserve their religion, culture and identity. Once it is realized that nothing that we have inherited is to be taken as granted, our responsibility toward the young generation, the generation of the 21st century is better realized.
Due to continuous persecution, discrimination and massacre the population of Zoroastrians of Iran from an estimated five million at the turn of the fifteenth century dwindled to only seven thousand at the middle of the nineteenth century. At this time the French ambassador to Iran wrote “only a miracle can save them from total extinction”. By the support of their Parsi brethren and their own faith, the Zoroastrian community in Iran revived and their fate turned around. Today they are well educated and enjoy the respect and trust of the general population for their reputation of “scrupulous honesty”.
The history of Zoroastrians of Iran after the Arab conquest can be summarized in three words: oppression, misery and massacre.