Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Mandaeans in the countries of refuge new challenges and uncertain future

Written by  Suhaib Nashi
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Mandaean baptism in Canada Mandaean baptism in Canada

The Mandaeans and their religion survived thousands of years in South Mesopotamia protected by their faith, love of peace and knowledge. Their numbers decreased gradually by the facts of hostile surroundings and the refusal to accept new members in their belief. This refusal came, in my opinion, from fear of retaliation by their Muslim neighbors and rulers after the 7th century B.C..

In the early twentieth century the Mandaeans left their usual rural southern cities and moved to the major cities in Iraq and Iran. Looking for better life and seeking knowledge in modern schools and universities that were restarting in these countries.

In the later decades of the twentieth century the Mandaeans were forced to endure yet another wave of immigration. This time fleeing from brutal dictatorship, wars and harsh social and economic circumstances, they immigrated to countries that accepted refugees around the world. They were scattered to few satellite communities in North America, Europe and Australia. This Immigration was so unorganized that you could practically find a Mandaean family in most countries around the world. The other surprise they found is the total ignorance about their religion and community from the outside world. Even in countries like USA,advanced in knowledge and technology, they were not even mentioned in the annual international religious freedom report as a religious minority in Iraq and Iran 1n 1999 report. Agencies like UNHCR, Amnesty International, UNESCO, know very little if any about the Mandaeans and their plait.

The mandaeans realized that they are on their own if they want to survive. No country or organization really cares if they survived as a community or not. Their pride in their belief as the world's only Gnostic religion, their rare mandaean dialect, their true pacifists and their historic misery did not stand for them. The sense of survival hit the Mandaeans hard. They quickly started to organize in Mandaean associations and recently formed the Mandaean Associations Union to help communicate, plan, and organize their future directions.

The Mandaeans now face a true danger that threatens their survival. Their kids are growing in different countries, learning different languages and rarely sticking to the Mandaean roots. The pressure of different cultures and the lack of true religious unified leadership makes the youth look for spiritual values elsewhere.

The mandaeans need to work hard to establish Mandaean centers that are capable in proving themselves as focus for the mandaean activities in the countries of refuge. Mandaeans religious leaders should rise to the level of responsibility in providing an example of unity and peace among themselves and provide a true spiritual leadership to the mandaeans . The Associations and the Union should deal with the political aspects of the relations with mandaeans in Iraq and Iran and their two governments.. The Mandaean Human Rights Issues should be on the agenda for all associations to help those who have no home to get one. Help those in Yemen , Indonesia and Europe to secure a better future for there kids. To stop the deportation of Mandaeans to unsafe places. And work for the human rights in Iraq and Iran which is the only guarantee for a safe future for the mandaeans there.

Login to post comments