Community leaders call for justice

Mandaean temple attack in Maysan leaves two injured

MAYSAN — Sattar Jabbar Helo, leader of the Mandaean community, has condemned a recent armed attack on a Mandaean temple in Maysan that occurred on Friday evening, injuring two guards. He urged authorities to protect this foundational community.

In a statement, Helo highlighted the Mandaean community’s peaceful and philanthropic nature, noting their commitment to respecting all beliefs and coexisting peacefully in Iraq. “We are a community that values peace, kindness, and generosity, committed to our principles of respecting all creeds and coexisting harmoniously in our cherished Iraq,” he said.

The assault on the Amara temple was characterized as an unjustified armed attack with unclear motives. Helo detailed the incident: “In an unwarranted aggression, one of our sanctuaries in Amara was targeted, injuring two temple guards now hospitalized for treatment.”

Helo called on officials and stakeholders to apprehend the assailants and ensure the protection of worship places and the Mandaean community across Iraq. “We condemn this act and call for justice against the perpetrators, and for the safeguarding of worship places and our community members throughout Iraq,” he appealed.

The Mandaeans are an ethno-religious group practicing one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions, with roots that trace back to John the Baptist. This community, numbering in the tens of thousands globally, is concentrated in Iraq and Iran, though many have fled to Western countries in search of asylum due to religious persecution.

Their faith emphasizes peace, the sanctity of life, and rituals involving water, which they consider a symbol of creation and purification. Despite their historical resilience, Mandaeans face challenges in preserving their religious identity and practices amidst ongoing regional conflicts and discrimination.

Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the National Wisdom Movement, also condemned the attack, expressing solidarity with the Mandaean community. Al-Hakim reiterated the importance of this group as an integral part of Iraq’s diverse society and urged security forces to hold the attackers accountable.

“May our nation and its diverse people remain protected,” Al-Hakim stated, advocating for unity and peace among Iraq’s varied religious and ethnic groups.

The Maysan Police Command has responded to the attack, stating that the assailants remain at large and that Major General Ali Hassan Al-Mayahi is leading the investigation. The police confirmed that two guards were injured in the attack and are receiving medical treatment.