Sticky dispute as Kurdish Zoroastrians blast diaper maker


June 23, 2015

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Members of the Zoroastrian religious minority in Erbil, Kurdistan have threatened a diaper company with a lawsuit for giving a baby product the same name as their holy book.

The product in question, the Avesta Baby Diaper, has outraged the faith’s leaders who have demanded the name be changed at once. “Avesta’ is the name of the Zoroastrians’ sacred texts and the word is holy to followers.

Article by RUDAW


Hassan Tahir, owner of the diaper company, said the name was chosen at random and the association with the religion was unintended. He has strongly denied accusation that it was an intentional slight against Zoroastrians.

“I thought Avesta is just a Kurdish name and as a courtesy to Kurds and Kurdistan I chose the name,” he told Rudaw.

Tahir said the brand name is popular and well-known by costumers and changing it would be a major financial blow to the company. He added that he would consider changing the name if he were compensated for the cost.

“A Zoroastrian man called me and said, ‘Do you want me to name use Quran for my pajamas company?'” said Tahir. “I said, no.”

Even so,  Zoroastrians don’t appear to be taking the matter sitting down. Awat Isa, a leader of the Yasna organization that advocates for the Zoroastrian community in the Kurdistan region, points out thaadvertisement t the religious minority has never disrespected other faiths.

“The manager of the company is Muslim, I have no doubt that the name was deliberately picked,” he said.

Zoroastrianism dates back to the 2000 BC with its origins in Iran. It was gradually marginalized and absorbed by Islam from the 7th century with the decline of the Sassanid Empire in Iran.

Today, Zoroastrians are spread around the world, but are mainly located in Central Asia and India. There are an estimated 100,000 Zoroastrians in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to Isa, a considerable number of Zoroastrians have recently returned to practice their ancient religion.

The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Erbil has registered the religion and suggested to the Kurdish Regional Government that the ancient faith should be given its own directorate and allowed to build new temples.