- This tiny (around 60,000 ahderents worldwide) but ancient religious minority until recently largely lived in southern Iraq around the Shatt-al-Arab waterway and the western Iranian province of Khuzestan. They maintain a belief system that partially resembles Gnosticism, but they abhor asceticism and emphasize fertility. They revere such biblical figures as Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram, and especially John the Baptist but consider Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed false prophets. The Man-daeans are also known as Christians of St. John, Nasoraeans, Sabians, and Subbi. Until the 2003 war in Iraq, most Mandaeans lived in Iraq, but since then their numbers have dwindled to less than 7,000 as they have fled mostly to Syria and Jordan due to violence against them.
Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Michael M. Gunter.
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