‘There is NO Compulsion in Religion’- Part 2

Iraq’s Mandaeans ‘face extinction’-

Islamic Tolerance in Action :           _42633761_selwan203.jpg

Islamic militants forced Selwan to jump into a bonfire


Iraq’s Mandaeans ‘face extinction’
By Angus Crawford
BBC News, Damascus

The Sabian Mandaeans – one of the oldest religious groups in the world – are facing extinction, according to its leaders.
They claim that Islamic extremists in Iraq are trying to wipe them out through forced conversions, rape and murder.

The Mandaeans are pacifists, followers of Adam, Noah and John the Baptist.


Kanzfra Sattar is one of only five Mandaean bishops left


They have lived in what is now Iraq since before Islam and Christianity.

More than 80% have been forced to flee the country and now live as refugees in Syria and Jordan.

Even there they do not feel safe – but they say western governments are unwilling to take them in.

Victim voices

There are thought to be fewer than 70,000 of the Sabian Mandaeans spread across the world – only 5,000 are left in Iraq.

Nine-year-old Selwan likes watching cartoons and playing football.

But he is too scared to leave his flat. The other children tease him.

He has burns all down the side of his face and on 20% of his body.

He was kidnapped by Islamic militants who forced him to jump into a bonfire – because he is Mandaean.

Now his family lives in a tiny flat in a slum in Damascus.

I meet Luay. He is too scared to be identified and does not want to use his full name.

He was dragged off the street by armed men and forcibly circumcised – a practice not allowed in the Mandaean religion.

He is 19 and is now unlikely ever to find a bride from his own faith.

Worse, he was forcibly converted. That means in the eyes of those same extremists if he now declares himself Mandaean he is apostate.

That makes him a traitor to Islam, who may be murdered. He says he will not be safe in any Muslim country.

‘Convert or die’

Then there is Enhar, raped by a gang of masked men in front of her husband – because she would not wear a veil.

Our ethnic minority and out ancient religion will die off
Kanzfra Sattar, Mandaean bishop
Mazen used to be a prosperous jeweller. Now he lives in a cramped flat, with his wife and children. Water drips through the ceiling.

His legs are peppered with machine-gun wounds, he can barely walk.

Shoaki wears a Manchester United hat and shows me the scars where a gang beat and cut him with a knife – he watched his brother murdered in front of him.

Mandaean elders use words like annihilation and genocide – they believe Islamic militants, both Sunni and Shia, offer them two choices – convert or die.

“Some will not consider us people of the book… they see us as unbelievers, as a result our killing is allowed,” says Kanzfra Sattar, one of only five Mandaean bishops left worldwide.

‘Wait in line’

He believes they are a litmus test for modern Iraq – in a secular state these doctors, engineers and jewellers would thrive.

In the country as it is without law and in the grip of religious extremism, he fears they will be destroyed.

“We are small in numbers, we ask all the governments of the world to extend a hand of help,” Kanzfra Sattar says.

He says he wants the West to accept his people as refugees.

I ask him what will happen if they do not – he replies simply: “Our ethnic minority and our ancient religion will die off.”

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, says there may be as many as a million Iraqis who have fled to Syria.

“The numbers that will be resettled are tiny compared to the very large numbers that are here,” says Laurens Jolles, the head of a UNHCR team.

He acknowledges that the Mandaeans will just have to “wait in line”, with other vulnerable groups.

Roughly two million Iraqis have fled to Syria, Jordan and Turkey. But there are no plans to welcome large numbers to the West.

The US has offered places to 7,000, while Britain says it will consider every case “on its merits”.

So the Mandaeans wait in line.

Shoaki puts it more simply: “Here, we live in despair.”

6 thoughts on “‘There is NO Compulsion in Religion’- Part 2”

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how anyone can ignore what is being done in the name of this death cult called Islam and blindly continue to praise it as a religion of peace.

    These stories make me very sad, the abuse some people have to live under we have absolutely no idea of. And so unnecessary.

  2. Islam:worse than the Mafia. At least the Mafia provides some useful services so long as you play by their rules. That’s more than can be said for Islam.

  3. Yesterday it was, “racist bigots”. Today it’s, “there’s something about islam”. Tomorrow it will be, “muslims are barbarians, get them out of our country”. Take Hilali for instance, he’ll plant his foot in his mouth again because it’s habitual for muslims to be what they are, champions of denial and grandiose delusional tangents that befit any psychopathic lunatic…

  4. Iranian Mandaeans in Detention Centres in Australia

    Numerous sources have noted the considerable discrimination that occurs against Mandaeans by Moslems within detention centres in Australia. Many have declared these occurrences as clear examples of the situation in Iran. A recent Federal Court decision used examples of extreme discrimination in Australia’s Detention centres as evidence of the problems Mandaeans face in Iran.

    The following examples of religious intolerance have occurred under the controlled environment of detention centres:

    1. An 18 year old Mandaean girl was verbally abused, pushed to the ground, kicked and abused by Moslems as she was serving food a the mess in Woomera detention centre in December 2001, due to Mandaeans being viewed as ‘unclean’ by Moslems.

    2. A blind Mandaean man was reported to be seized, defecated on and locked in a toilet in November 2001.

    3. Moslems have refused to share bathrooms, toilets and laundries with Mandaeans.

    4. A Mandaean woman reported a case of sexual assault by Moslem men on the 28th July 2002. This case is currently being investigated by Australian Federal Police.

    5. Islamists set fire to dormitory blocks occupied by Mandaeans at Woomera

    6. In December 2001 at the Port Headland Detention Centre, a Shi’ite Moslem Mullah was inciting his followers against Mandaeans by preaching that it is lawful to kill Mandaeans and take their belongings.

    These attacks have added to the hardships faced by the Mandaeans, which has resulted in attempted suicides in some Detention Centres. At other Centres, such as Baxter, the Mandaean and Moslem populations have been separated.

  5. I am very sorry for these people, please let me know how I can contribute something to these helpless people. Please let me have their contacts, I need to help them.

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