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Water pollution in Iraq threatens worshippers of ancient Mandaean faith

Updated : October 17, 2018 03:11 PM IST

Iraq's soaring water pollution is threatening the religious rites of its tight-knit Mandaean community, already devastated by 15 years of war that has also affected the country's other minority sects. Mandaeanism follows the teachings of John the Baptist, a saint in both the Christian and Islamic traditions, and their rituals revolve around water.

Followers of the ancient Mandaean religious sect perform their rituals along a strip of embankment on the Tigris River reserved for them, in Baghdad, Iraq.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Followers of the ancient Mandaean religious sect perform their rituals along a strip of embankment on the Tigris River reserved for them, in Baghdad, Iraq.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Iraq’s soaring water pollution is threatening the religious rites of its tight-knit Mandaean community, already devastated by 15 years of war that has also affected the country’s other minority Abrahamic sects. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Iraq’s soaring water pollution is threatening the religious rites of its tight-knit Mandaean community, already devastated by 15 years of war that has also affected the country’s other minority Abrahamic sects. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Every Sunday worshippers bathe themselves in the waters to purify their souls. But unlike in ancient times, the storied river that runs through Baghdad is fouled by the smells of untreated sewage and dead carp, which float by in the fast-moving current. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Every Sunday worshippers bathe themselves in the waters to purify their souls. But unlike in ancient times, the storied river that runs through Baghdad is fouled by the smells of untreated sewage and dead carp, which float by in the fast-moving current. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Mandaeanism follows the teachings of John the Baptist, a saint in both the Christian and Islamic traditions, and their rituals revolve around water.  (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Mandaeanism follows the teachings of John the Baptist, a saint in both the Christian and Islamic traditions, and their rituals revolve around water.  (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
The storied river that runs through Baghdad is fouled by the smells of untreated sewage and dead carp, which float by in the fast-moving current. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
The storied river that runs through Baghdad is fouled by the smells of untreated sewage and dead carp, which float by in the fast-moving current. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Followers of the obscure and ancient Mandaean faith throw parsley from an embankment on the Tigris River as part of their traditional rituals, in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Followers of the obscure and ancient Mandaean faith throw parsley from an embankment on the Tigris River as part of their traditional rituals, in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Until 2003, nearly all the world’s Mandaeans lived in Iraq, but the cycles of conflict since the U.S. invasion have driven minorities out of the country for security reasons and economic opportunity. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Until 2003, nearly all the world’s Mandaeans lived in Iraq, but the cycles of conflict since the U.S. invasion have driven minorities out of the country for security reasons and economic opportunity. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
A dead carp floats near the Mandaean Temple as followers of the obscure and ancient Mandaean faith perform rituals along a strip of embankment on the Tigris River reserved for them. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
A dead carp floats near the Mandaean Temple as followers of the obscure and ancient Mandaean faith perform rituals along a strip of embankment on the Tigris River reserved for them. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Published : October 17, 2018 12:13 PM IST
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