Lonely Planet Writer

Sumerian god worship swells to over 3000 in Iceland

More than 3000 people in Iceland – that’s almost 1% of the population – have joined an ancient Sumerian religion.

Lutheran church in Reykjavik.
Lutheran church in Reykjavik. Image by Tristan Ferne / CC BY 2.0

Zuism is based on the worship of gods including Enlil, An and Nanna. The Sumerians occupied what is now southern Iraq for thousands of years before declining around 2000BC. The faith’s popularity is primarily down to protest. ‘Parish fees’ of 10,000IKR ($US80) per person are included in Iceland’s taxes, and individuals must register their religion with the government and with the relevant church getting their fee. ‘There is no opt-out’, said a Zuist spokesman. ‘Those who are unaffiliated or belong to unregistered religions effectively just pay higher taxes.’ The Zuists will reimburse the parish fee and hope to challenge the current set-up. They say that ‘in a modern society the state should not keep a register of people’s religious beliefs’. Politicians from Iceland’s Progressive party have suggested Zuism is not a religious movement and should be deregistered. Read more: theguardian.com