Source: The Houston Chronicle
On January 8, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that "2,200 Zoroastrians from 18 countries gathered [in Houston] for the Seventh World Zoroastrian Congress--their largest gathering ever...Zoroastrianism originated in ancient Persia between 1400 and 1000 B.C. Their prophet, Zoroaster, taught people to worship one god, Ahura Mazda, and to believe in good and evil spirits and in heaven and hell. In its prime, the faith had millions of followers...The community today does not surpass 250,000." This was the first congress to be held outside traditional meeting sites of Iran and India. The move was significant because it recognized the vibrancy of the 'new diaspora in the New World,' or North America...Communities in Iran and India are dwindling...But the ones in North America are flourishing under democracy and progressive thought...There are an estimated 25,000 Zoroastrians in North America; about 600 are in Houston." The congress saw exhibitions about Zoroastrian history and contributions to the world, set up the Zoroastrian Chamber of Commerce, and discussed "issues like assimilation, whether children of interfaith marriages should be accepted into the community, and whether to overturn the ban on proselytizing."