PHOTOS: Mandaeans perform 'Golden Baptism' ritual in Erbil
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the Mandaean religious minority gathered together in the Kurdistan Region's Erbil province on Wednesday for their 'Golden Baptism' ritual.
The Mandaeans, also known as Sabians or Sabian-Mandaeans, celebrated the ritual along the banks of the Great Zab River, located west of Erbil province's Khabat town.
While the number of Mandaeans has been declining across Iraq since 2003, they still practice their religious rituals, often held along the banks of the Tigris River in Nasiriyah and Basra in the south of Iraq.
There are an estimated 3,000 Mandaeans in Iraq, 400 of whom are in Erbil, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.
Mandaeans often complain that they have no political representation in Iraq, partially because of their tiny number.
"The Iraqi government believes that there is only a few thousand of us left and it does not pay attention to our demands," Sattar Jabbar Helou, the worldwide head of the sect, told Al-Monitor in 2019.