Below are photographs of a Sabean Mandean family doing a ritual bathing in the Tigris River, Baghdad, April 22, 2012. Sabeans are followers of John The Baptist. 90% of the community has either fled the country or been killed. In 2008, there were an estimated 3,500-5,000 left in Iraq. They were particularly vulnerable to the country’s violence, because they are pacifists, and can only be born into the faith. At one point, human rights groups were afraid that Sabeans could go extinct within the country. With the security situation greatly improved, there is new hope for the religious group to rebuild.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, “Iraq Report – 2008,” December 2008