�Sabean Mandeans pray for peace in Iraq" (Middle East Online, UK)
On banks of Tigris, Sabeans praying for suffering in war, for future Iraq that must retake path of unity, democracy.
By Beatriz Lecumberri - BAGHDAD
Just off the banks of the Tigris River in the heart of Baghdad's old city lies the temple of Sabean Mandeans, a tiny community that despite its reclusiveness has been hit hard by the war.
In a rite of purification, Sabean Mandeans with long beards, white tunics and rustic sandals immersed themselves up to their waists in water.
"Thirty-three of our followers were killed in the American air strikes. They were civilians who were at home," temple priest Ala Dehle Kama recalled with clear bitterness.
The dead, he explained, had parted the world without receiving their final baptism, a ritual of utmost significance as it is supposed to bring the follower out of suffering and into the light.
For Kama, the Sabean Mandeans are praying not only for their dead, but for all who suffered in the war, and for a future Iraq that must "retake the path of unity and democracy."
Monday, May 05, 2003
THERE ARE STILL MANDEANS IN IRAQ: