In 1895, a Mandaean priest was captured near the town of Chabāyish in Iraq and brought to the jailhouse in Basra. Shaykh Ṣaḥan was accused of murdering his nephew and, more significantly, of supporting an Arab tribal rebellion against Ottoman authority. Using archival sources and Mandaean oral history, this article analyzes the case of Shaykh Ṣaḥan within the context of state centralization, Ottoman-British rivalry, and the internal conflicts among the Mandaeans. The case is significant because it sheds light on how large-scale transformations affected vulnerable minorities like the Mandaeans, and the way these communities struggled to survive in turbulent times.
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