A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Iraq Lays Foundation for Sabean Cultural Center

I'm really busy with Journal work today s please forgive a post that is little mre than a link: "Iraq Lays Foundation for Sabean Cultural Center." Like other non-Muslim minorities in Iraq, the Sabeans (or Mandaeans as they call themselves) are in sharp decline: the article estimates only about 5,000 remain in Iraq, down from 100,000 in the 1980s. They suffered under Saddam Hussein and have been targeted by Islamists more recently (as have Iraq's Christians, Yazidis, and others, while the Jewish population has left).  Many Mandaeans still speak a variety of Aramaic. They practice a gnostic, syncretistic religion in which Adam and John the Baptist play major roles.

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