Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Parsis say "No" to conversion - Times Of India report

From: TZML Admins
Date: Feb 19, 2008 8:25 AM
Subject: Parsis say "No" to conversion - Times Of India report

The Report of the Public Meeting of the Dasturjis and Scholar Priests
has appeared in Saturday's Times of India on page 11.

A copy is attached.



16 Feb 2008


Does Zoroasfrianism enjoin conversion? Did Parsis living in India for the past
1,300 years ever go out and proselytise peopie from other faiths?

The answer was a categorical "no" at a public meeting called by the cornmunity's
Vada Dasturs (high priests) on Friday to counter the claims of a rebel priest
from the USA, Kersy Antia, who recently publicly called for converting people
from other faiths in order to increase the dwindling Parsi population. There are
about 45,000 Parsi-Irani Zoroastrians left in Mumbai. Almost a thousand people
attended the meeting.

Antia was jeered by a group of traditionalists after his lecture on acceptance
at the YB Chavan hall earlier this month. He contended that the religion allowed
conversion, but many felt that he simply twisted the scriptures to propagate his

"This meeting has beei called specifically to oppose this false propaganda.
Antia has tried to draw a line between acceptance and conversion by stating that
acceptance is conversion by persuasion. Our view is that when you persuade
someone to convert, you are in fact, blaspheming the other religion, saying that
one is better than the other," said advocate and scholar priest K N Dastoor, who
was the main speaker at the gathering.

'Parsis are respected because they respect all religions and are
non-interfering. Besides, it is dangerous for such a small community if it
starts/luring people from other faiths into ours," he added.

Avesta scholar Adi Doctor said, "There are innumerable references in the entire
Zoroastrian scrip.tures including the Gathas against conversion and
proselytisation. Every individual is enjoined to foilow his own religion." To
buttress his argument, Doctor quoted some passages from the Gospels of St
Matthew and St John, to "vindicate" what has been said in the Zoroastrian
scriptures against conversion.

A resolution passed unanimously during the meeting said, "The community condemns
and puts on record its strong protest against the anti-Zarthushtrian activities
of acceptance/conversion perpetrated as well as propagated by
certainanti-religious groups and against the speech delivered by one Dr Kersy
Antia on February 2,2008."

"The community affirms and asserts its fuil faith and belief in the tenets,
traditions as well as practices of the religion observed for thousands of