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In the aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003, the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60,000–70,000 persons, collapsed; most of the community relocated to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan, or formed diaspora communities beyond the Middle East. The other indigenous community of Iranian Mandaeans has also been dwindling as a result of religious persecution over that decade.
Pre-Iraq War, The Iraqi Mandaean community was centered in Baghdad. The Mandeans originate, however, from southern Iraq in cities like Nasiriyah. Many also live across the border in Southwestern Iran in the cities of Ahvaz and Khorramshahr. Mandaean emigration from Iraq began during Saddam Hussein's rule, but accelerated greatly after the American-led invasion and subsequent occupation. Since the invasion Mandaeans, like other Iraqi ethno-religious minorities (such as Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidi, Roma and Shabaks), have been subjected to violence, including murders, kidnappings, rapes, evictions, and forced conversions. Mandaeans, like many other Iraqis, have also been targeted for kidnapping since many worked as goldsmiths. Mandaeism is pacifistic and forbids its adherents from carrying weapons.