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IRAQ: Fleeing Christians Face New Hardships in Turkey
Centuries of mutual tolerance had been amplified by modern morays. Now that the forces of hatred and tolerance are being inflamed by imperial aggression and domination there are probably many stories like this. Iraq had long been an anthropological religious tradition preserve, keeping many ancient sects alive. Almost all of these are either Abrahamic in origin, or have been very influenced by Judeo-Christian traditions. This very long list includes the pre-Judeo-Christian traditions of the Yazidhis, and Zoroastrians, many ancient Abrahamaic sects of Jews and Hebrews, and those who hold to the primacy of John the Baptist’s teachings, or are Gnostic or cryptic Christian sects with roots from the time of Christ or earlier, such as Mandaean and Assyrian sects, as well as Christians from the early periods of Christianity such as Nestorians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, and Armenian Orthodox.
There are small sects that co-existed with early Christian sects and have always been very co-influenced by Judeo-Christian Gnostic traditions, such as Manicheans.
Many different sects of Islam are found here, including different Zoroastrian and Sufi traditions that have had a profound influence on each other and Islam.
More modern groups like Protestants, and Baha’is have also traditionally found tolerance in Iraq.
Iraq has always been a place of blending and retaining old traditions and has fostered many syncretic religions over the millennia. Shabaks, which seem to be a further blending of the originally pagan Kurdish Yazidhi beliefs with Sufi Islam, are an excellent example of this ancient tradition of Iraqi tolerance that is now crumbling. Other good examples are the Assyrians and Manicheans, both named for groups that pre-date Christ, but are now essentially Gnostic Christians with a focus on John Baptist. Indeed, there is not one of those mentioned above that is not highly suspected of being influenced by the blending of traditions, particularly while in Iraq, excepting Baha’is, which are both widely considered syncretic in their origins elsewhere.
Indeed, the Shabak, and Sabean Mandaeans, along with many sects of many of these traditions, also have a long on and of history of being cryptic, of adopting the outward forms of the politically or demographically dominant tradition of their time and place, and this fosters both the syncretic nature of Iraq’s traditions, and the survival of ancient, albeit evolved, traditions.
Between the loss of this cultural preserve of religious history and the loss of archeological treasures of the many cultures at the center of the origins of western histories due to decades of bombing and looting, we have lost a great deal of the resources that had remained until modern times to better understand and contextualize the rise of, and ancient influences on, classical and modern western history.
This incalculable loss is comparable to the loss of the ancient libraries of Alexandria and Baghdad and thus puts the US firmly in the same class as Genghis, but on a much larger scale.
Iraq / Religions & Peoples
Minority Religions Under Attack in Iraq