Zoroastrians pray five times a day

fowid note: The official government statement on religious affiliations in Iran states that 99.4 percent of Iranians are Muslim. The Dutch GAMAAN research group has now published a “survey report on the attitude of Iranians to religion”. The survey results convey a differentiated picture of the religion and everyday habits of the Iranians, which are in clear contrast to the official information. Muslims are therefore only 37 percent of Iranians.

In the official representation of religious affiliations in Iran by the state statistical authority (for the 2006 and 2011 census) there are 99.4 percent Muslims in Iran.

The state publication is under the heading: “IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL. Verily, He has counted all creatures and He knows their exact number. Holy Quran Sura Maryam, verse 94 ”. ("IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIBLE, THE MERCIFUL. Verily, He has counted all creatures and He knows their exact number. Holy Quran, Surah Maryam, verse 94".) No information is given on the nature of the question of religious affiliation.

The Dutch GAMAAN research group (GAMAAN - The Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in IRAN) has published a “survey report on the attitude of Iranians to religion” (which so far is - completely - only available in Farsi). The lead researchers are Ammar Maleki, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Tilberg University and Pouyan Tamimi Arab, Assistant Professor of Religious Anthropology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

This survey produces results that differ significantly from the official representations.

The online survey “Attitudes of Iranians towards religion” was carried out in 15 days in June 2020. More than 50,000 respondents took part in this survey, and around 90 percent of the respondents were from Iran. The results of this report reflect the views of readers living in Iran over the age of 19 (equivalent to 85 percent of adults in Iran) and can be applied to this population with a confidence level of 95 percent and an error rate of 5 percent.

The study itself says: The results of this survey show that 32 percent of society consider themselves “Shiite Muslims”, 9 percent consider themselves atheists, 8 percent as spiritualists, 7.5 percent as Zoroastrians, 7 percent as agnostics and 4 percent .5 percent describe them as Sunni Muslims. There are also tendencies towards mysticism (Sufism), humanism, Christianity and Bahá’í, as well as other tendencies in Iranian society. Around 22 percent of society do not see themselves as close to any of these tendencies and are non-denominational.

Around half of the population stated that they had switched from being religious to living without religion. On the other hand, the belief of 41 percent of people in society in religion or atheism has not changed much in their lives. In addition, about 6 percent of the population has changed from one religious orientation to another.

60 percent of the population state that they do not pray (any more). In contrast, about 40 percent of the population said they prayed alternately, and of that amount, more than 27 percent of the population said they prayed five times a day.

The results of the survey show that about 61 percent of the population in families grow up in “theistic and religious” families and 32 percent of society in “theistic but not religious” families. Less than 3 percent of the population grew up in “atheist” or “anti-religious” families.

According to the poll, 68 percent of the population believe that religious decisions should not be the norm in legislation, even if religious people have a majority in parliament. On the other hand, around 15 percent of society believe that the laws should always conform to the religious rules.

According to the survey, 71 percent of the population believe that religious institutions should be self-financing. On the other hand, 10 percent believe that religious institutions of all religions should receive state aid, and 3.5 percent of society believe that only Islamic institutions should benefit from state aid.

57 percent of the population are against giving their children religious education in schools. However, around 54 percent agree that their children should be educated about the beliefs of various religions in school.

More than 73 percent of the population are against the mandatory hijab. In contrast, around 12 percent of society emphasize the need to observe hijab (covering hair) in public. On the other hand, 58 percent of society doesn't believe in hijab at all.

About 37 percent of Iranians drink alcohol regularly or occasionally, despite restrictions. On the other hand, 55 percent of the population said they did not drink alcohol. About 8 percent of the population do not consume alcohol because it is impossible to buy (lack of access or money).

ZEIT had already reported on the religious situation in 2012 (“As an atheist in God's state”). The political and legal situation of the religions is officially clear. Atheists and unregistered religions are not recognized and apostasy is punishable by death.

“Unlike the country's registered religious minorities - Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians - atheists and followers of other religions such as the Baha'i are not recognized by the Islamic Republic. Anyone who is registered as a Muslim and turns away from their faith faces the death penalty for apostasy, according to the Sharia law in force in Iran. "

As an atheist you have to lead a double life, reports a young student and atheist who founded a Facebook group "Iranian Atheists and Agnostics", which in 2012 already had 27,000 "likes", currently (September 6, 2020) 193,849 likes it People.

“His observation is that Iranian society is gradually secularizing. 'We are in a time that can be compared to Europe during the Renaissance,' says Mantegh. Many Iranians still have a moderate belief characterized by Persian-Islamic folklore. But the clerical regime, with its strict rules of conduct, has achieved the opposite of a deeply pious attitude in many people, namely disbelief. "

This view is also confirmed by an Iranian scholar at the University of Göttingen, for whom it is not surprising that many do not believe in God at all.

“Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Göttingen, also believes that the version of Islam propagated by the state has alienated most Iranians from the religion. 'Until the revolution, few knew anything about the content of Islam,' he says. The Ayatollah regime defined how it should be understood. But even when Islam was presented as a religion of sacrifice and suffering during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, and increasingly rigid rules of conduct such as compulsory headscarves were introduced for women, the first Iranians distanced themselves from it, says Kreyenbroek . 'Some people looked for their spiritual way out in Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. The fact that many no longer believe in God and profess to be atheists is new, but not surprising. "

And the young student and his atheist fellow students have come up with a bitter saying.

“Ebrahimi often meets with other atheist fellow students at his university to discuss - about science, religion and politics. 'We have a saying: If you join Islam, they will cut off your foreskin. If you want to leave him, they cut your head off.. Ebrahimi says it jokingly. It remains serious in Iran. "