BOSTON – A United Nations refugee official says no single country wants to take all the Iraqi Mandaean (man-DAY'-an) refugees who seek to resettle, and acknowledges that's putting the tiny religious group at risk.
Vincent Cochetel (van-SAWNT' cosh-TEL') represents the U.S. and the Caribbean for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. He told The Associated Press on Thursday that nations typically don't accept entire ethnic or religious groups and that countries face capacity issues.
Mandaeanism is a tiny, ancient religion that views John the Baptist as its great teacher. About 60,000 followers have fled Iraq and Iran in recent years because of persecution. Many went to Jordan and Syria.
Boston Mandaean Dr. Wisam Breegi (wih-SAHM' BREE'-gee) says members of the religion need to resettle together or it will disappear. The Boston area has one of the larger U.S. populations, around 450.