The Mandaeans in Iraq Today: Perceptions, Stereotypes, Prejudices, and Exclusion
Keywords:Mandaean, Iraq, representation, access, exclusion
Known as the followers of one of the oldest monotheistic religions, the Sabians-Mandaean minority constitutes an important part of Iraqi cultural and social identity. However, their number has been significantly declining due to wars, international sanctions, sectarianism, and marginalization. Thus, it is the aim of this study to have an understanding of the Mandaean community's perceptions of their future, heritage, and culture in Iraq and in the diaspora as well as to look at their representation in Iraq and the characteristics, qualities, and features attributed to them. The data were collected from 20 Mandaean respondents inside and outside of Iraq. To achieve the research aims, the Discourse Historical Approach to critical discourse analysis along with the access patterns to discourse was adopted in the analysis. The results shows that although the Mandaean participants reported they have been positively constructed by other non-Mandaean communities when it comes to their profession, peace, handcrafts, and goldsmith jobs, they are also negatively constructed when it comes to their religion and their belief as well as being accused of warcraft and sorcery. The results also shows that there are many negative stereotypical and evaluative characteristics assigned to the Mandaean. Besides, the lack of access to state sectors as education, media and politics has contributed to having them more negatively represented and isolated. Mandaean minority has little or no access or control over the discourse of schools and university discourse. There is a little or no mention on who the Mandaean are or what their religion and traditions are.