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B.A., Brigham Young University; M.A., UC Santa Barbara
Advisor: Stephen Humphreys
My dissertation examines Muslim-Zoroastrian relations in Iran between the seventh and eleventh centuries A.D. It challenges the lachrymose narrative which attributes the relative decline of Zoroastrianism to sectarian violence. I first consider the practical implications of the Zoroastrians’ ambiguous status under Islamic law as well as a charter of religious freedom ('ahd-nama) supposedly granted to Salman al-Farisi by the Prophet Muhammad. Then, incorporating insights from South Asian Studies, I reassess the significance of religious violence between Muslims and Zoroastrians, including fire temple desecration, the flight of the Parsis to India, and the destruction of the sacred Cypress of Zoroaster. I conclude by analyzing rhetorical uses of the term "Zoroastrians" in Muslim discourse from Spain to India.