Category: Mandeanism

Iraq chaos threatens ancient faith

There are fears for the future of one of the most ancient, as well as the smallest, communities in Iraq – the Mandeans. Their religion, Mandeanism, comes from the same general background as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They share many of the same prophets, but particularly honour John the Baptist. This is a religion almost solely confined to Iraq, but since the US-led invasion in 2003, many Mandeans have fled the country and now more than half of them live outside its borders. The refugees speak of kidnap, murder and attempts at forced conversion. One woman, Ibtisam Sabah Habib, said

Iraqi Sect Holds Onto Old Ritual

Columbian, July 22, 2003 BAGHDAD, Iraq — Tanks rumbled past on a nearby bridge Monday and U.S. helicopters chopped through the air overhead, but down by the bank of the Tigris River was a scene from thousands of years ago. Hundreds of Sabaean Mandeans a tiny sect that views John the Baptist as savior waited in line in gauzy, white tunics to submerge themselves in the ancient river. The Sabaean Mandeans were celebrating the eve of their first New Year since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and many said they were just as worried about the future as they