Cultural to Direct Violence: Opportunities for Prevention Ignored

For decades, Shia Muslims have lived under fear of identification by their religion. Ethnically distinct groups such as the Hazara, who are physically distinguishable and recognized as Shia Muslims have seen a 58% reduction in their population since the 18th century. Other groups such that of the Shia living in Saudi Arabia take to blend into their larger anti-Shia society in fear of discrimination. Thus, having a public Shia identity can be troublesome for many Shia Muslims.

Recently, the light was shed on the existence of a media post that incited discrimination against Shia Muslims. The post calls for the identification of Shia Muslims, and their social and physical tendencies (such as “how Shia women wear their scarf” and the length of a Shia man’s beard). The post begins, “When walking in the
street, or in public places, it’s becoming increasingly important to become
Vigilant as to who may be a Shi’ah, and who may be not. Here are some general

The existence of the post was brought to light by the recent attack on May 10th when three men armed with machetes attacked the Imam Hussain Mosque in Durban, South Africa. The religious
the leader was killed, and mosque attendees were injured. Targeting of
the mosque continued into the following week when a bomb was found strapped
Under the Imam’s chair. The weapon was neutralized before taking any lives.

Recognizing the targeted means of the attack, non-Shia entities in the area stumbled to dissociate themselves from violent acts of anti-Shiism. They took to claim a lack of involvement to an anti-Shia post circulating in social media and chat-platforms.

Some sources in South Africa state the post has been circulating since January 2018 yet no one had taken steps to stop its circulation. It’s condemnation only occurred after violence erupted.

It must be noted that cultural violence in the form of discrimination and social injustice is the basis for violence which continues to lead to the loss of Shia lives.

The reality is that this post is not the first of its kind. The recent attacks on Imam Hussein Mosque in Durban South Africa shed light on the systematic cultural violence Shia Muslims face. Not only do Shia Muslims have to bear anti-Islam bigotry, but they are also victims of anti-Shia violence.

The spotlight newly held on anti-Shia propaganda in private non-Shia groups, virtual or in physical presence, calls for increased awareness for humanitarian activists. It acts as a reminder that a lack of direct violence is not a sign of peace. Anti-Shia rhetoric plagues non-Shia communities in and out of the Middle East, and until platforms that fuel discrimination are recognized and brought to justice, anti-Shiism will continue to prosper and will escalate to targeting and killing of Shia Muslim communities.


Bahrain: 7 Years Later

Over seven years have passed from the first Bahraini cries for reform. Like any other attempt at a revolution, reflection becomes easier as time passes. Bahraini advocates and active members of the revolution are now beginning to evaluate the crisis at hand.

Blossoming of the Arab Spring in Bahrain began as a call for democracy by Bahraini’s from all walks of life. People gathered around Pearl Roundabout and demanded increased rights from their monarch. The Shia majority demographic of Bahrain would naturally allow for more Shia revolutionaries, but the reform seeking demands were not a Shia versus the State- everyone sought to change.

However, as the government crackdown on protests increased and violence erupted, Shia Muslims stood stoutly while their non-Shia Bahraini peers succumbed to pressure. And now, seven years later, Shia Muslims have been the most affected.  Arrests of under-aged minors, women, and children augmented anti-monarchy, and thus more protests were held. Anti-reform violence and civil demonstrations positively reinforced each other; each one step bigger than the other.

Now, Bahrain is no longer what it used to be. Massive recruitment of foreign workers from India, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen along with profound de-nationalization and emigration of Bahraini nationals have changed the national demographics. Public institutions are operated by Shia Bahraini’s, a proportion far less than that in Bahrain pre-Arab Spring.

Unemployment rates are the highest in Shia communities. Hundreds of educated Bahrainis are either jobless or forced to fill underpaid jobs they are overqualified for. The average retiree age in the monarch is 30 as many choose to live with primary retirement funds than life with no income.

Moreover, many Bahraini’s are choosing to move out of Bahrain. Some leave because they are no longer considered Bahraini nationals due to citizenship revocation. Others go because the can no longer bear the glass ceiling supported by increased hatred and discrimination against for individuals of the Shia faith.

Almost a decade after the strive for increased rights, life in Bahrain has yet to improve. Looking back, it is now more than ever essential to remember the lives lost as a result of government-sponsored violence and to renew faith in those living undetermined terms in detainment. Humanitarian organizations must come together to work at grassroots, national, and international levels to ease hardships faced by Bahraini Shia. Most importantly, however, the global Shia community must stand together in empowerment.

What is in it for Pakistan to support Anti-Shiism?

Pakistan has played a mysterious role in anti-Shia coalitions, killings, violation and more at an international level.

Historically Saudi Arabia is known for its Anti-Shia activities. This country not only violates the rights of its Shia population, but it also fuels and funds anti-Shiism in other countries. Saudi-backed educational institutions exist all over the world, including the United States. These academics preach intolerance toward minorities, Christians and Shia included. Also, Saudi Arabia employs, founds and deploys preachers to all countries around the world dominating mosques and Islamic studies entities. It is well known that Saudi Arabia has always “claimed” leadership in Islam either by influencing Islamic nation’s governments or Muslims’ religious practices through its preachers. Having the desire to be “the leader of Muslim nations,” it is no brainer that Saudi Arabia benefits from supporting mainstream Muslims and suppression Shia Muslims who openly critique this countrynon-Muhammad like extremist behaviors!

In a way, Saudi’s involvement in anti-Shiism is justified!

What is a mystery to me is Pakistan’s similar behavior. How is Pakistan being benefited by elevating systematic anti-Shiism inside its country and supporting it outside its borders!

At least one of every five Pakistani is Shia Muslim. Over the years, the Shia of Pakistan has been specifically targeted and killed by guns and suicide bombers. They have been murdered inside mosques and shopping markets, while on a pilgrimage to Iran and even at funerals. Most Shia attacked by individual extremists are reportedly professionals and well-educated people who held a critical position in government, academia, and economy. Currently, there are some Shia scholars and clerics in abstentia in this country. No matter how many Shia killed, attacked, violated and kidnapped, this population receives NO protection from the government.

Pakistan not only suppresses its Shia citizens, but this country also aids other Shia violator governments.

Pakistani troops in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia play essential roles. Imprisoned Shia in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have always reported and complained that the torturing staff and guards are mainly Pakistani troops. These troops do not understand or speak Arabic, so the needs of imprisoned Shia could never be heard! Adding to the mental pressure of the Shia inside jails.

And now the Pakistani army has decided to send more troops to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia requested Pakistan to provide ships, aircraft, and troops for the Riyadh-led war on Yemen. To oppose such aid, on April 2015, a resolution was unanimously passed at the Pakistani parliament, stipulating that the Asian country had to stay neutral in the conflict in Yemen “to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis.” However 2015’s resolution is not preventing this country from deploying troops to Saudi Arabia.

Although the exact role the troops will play is unclear, the mission was specified as training and advisory.

The question remains:

Why Pakistani troops are found where Shia rights are being violated?!


The Case of Amri che Mat

On the 26 of November 2016, Amri Che Mat’s car was found near the Perlis Timah Tosah Dam in Perlis, Malaysia with its windows shattered. From then on, the whereabout of Mat remain unknown.
Mat was a foreign exchange trader, a husband and father to four minor children. He was also the co-founder of Perlis Hope, a charity organization active in the community.

Previous to his disappearance, Mat had received numerous warnings from the Perlis Religious Department to reduce his social activities. The local mufti (non-Shia religious leader), Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, had shown up on Mat’s doorstep along with local law enforcement questioning him and his family about their Shia beliefs. Asri and other local religious leaders had made assertions that increased prominence of Perlis Hope activities could be a “threat to national security”.

Recently, witnesses have come forward stating that Mat’s car had been stopped by five vehicles close to his home around 11:30 pm on November 24.

Locals have compared the disappearance of Mat to that of Pastor Raymond Koh, who was also abducted in a “military-like assault” by his home on February 13, 2017. Neighbors recall seeing five cars, two of which were SUV’s, and 15 men stopping Koh and pulling him out of his car in broad daylight.

Despite the emerging facts and the continued violence against minority groups in Malaysia, little has been done by local law enforcement. Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, Mat’s wife states she has lodged numerous police reports over the past year, yet her case was not taken seriously. During investigations, the Koh family recalls the same procedure- instead of investigating the crime, the police questioned the Pastors social activities.

Religious Freedom in Malaysia

In 1996, Shia Islam was officially referred to as deviant. Although officials have said private practice of Shiism is permitted, Shia Muslims, along with other minority groups face constant discrimination. In 2017, $10 Billion were spent on the building of the King Salman Center for International Peace that aimed to “bring together Islamic scholars and intelligence agencies”. Funded and educated by conservative Wahhabi schools, religious authorities in Malaysia have welcomed intolerance against nonconformist to their definition of Islam and the new center, sources say, is a way to increase resources to identify and locate religious minority communities and their leaders.
Prejudice against minority groups have become systematic in the nation as law enforcement, too, ignores acts of violence that threaten these communities. The lack of due-process for direct violence welcomes increased bigotry and targeting of these groups. Further, lack of safety for religious minorities in the nation creates a power vacuum, allowing other religious extremist organizations such as the Kumpulan Mujahiddin Malaysia (KMM) to become active in the region.

Decades long religious intolerance in Malaysia not only threatens the diversity in the country, but it also reduced pro-social efforts. Perlis Hope is a charity organization that provides aid to those in need in the area. By providing well needed social services, Perlis Hope, and its likes, are creating stability for their constituents.

Intolerance in Malaysia is a growing threat to the nations security. By targeting religious minority leaders, authorities have created opportunities for the expansion of extremism and violence to the nation.

Shia of Nigeria

The case of Shia Muslim in Nigeria has been a measure of the nation states morality. In December 2015, a Shia Muslim religious center in Kunduna was attacked amidst religious processions. The Nigerian army killed over 400 Shia men, women, and children on that day alone. Two days later, a mass grave was discovered with the bodies of those killed. Local respondents report the burial was based on a court order by the state government, in attempts to thwart consequences of the militaries actions.

The attack in December was not the first case of anti-Shiism but an escalated direct act of violence against this community. In addition to systematic discrimination in the broader community, the leader of the mosque, Ibrahim Zakzaky faced the loss of his sons and his sister in previous clashes with armed forces.

In the attack in December, Zakzaky and his wife, Hajia Zainab Zakzaky were taken into custody without arrest warrants or viable charges. Despite increased international awareness and efforts of local activists, the Zakzaky’s are yet to be released.

Sources report Zakzaky has lost sight completely in his left eye and has a deteriorating vision in his right eye as a result of violence. Zainab Zakzaky still has a bullet lodged in her chest from the 2015 attack. The couple has been denied medical attention.

Backed by international humanitarian organizations, Femi Falana, the couple’s lawyer secured an order form the Abuja division of Federal High Courts to release the Zakzaky’s. The judge awarded Zakzaky 50 million NGN and temporary accommodations as reparations.

The state and the federal government have yet to follow through with the judge’s orders. The lack of compliance and accountability in the Nigerian judicial and executive branches of government are unsettling. In 2015, the Kunduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai set a Judicial Commission of inquiry to probe the military’s actions against Shia Muslims in the state. The panel investigation concluded that Zakzaky must not be held in the trial as evidence against him is lacking.  Not only did Rufai keep Zakzaky in detention, but the governor’s office also failed to prosecute military personnel who were active in the attack against Shia Muslims.

Falana notes that Zakzaky’s case is the first case since 1914 of a couple’s detention such as long duration.

The brutal lack of justice against Shia Muslims in Nigeria brings the credibility of the State into question. Injustice is apparent in the prosecution of Zakzaky’s case as evidence is lacking and there is inconsistency within the governments judicial and executive actions.

Nigeria is home to one of the fastest growing populations of Shia Muslims in the African region. Despite the government’s attempts to thwart such growth, more Nigerian nationals have turned towards the religion. Discrimination against Shia Muslims has only made it clear that the Nigerian state thrives on inequality and injustice. Further, anti-Shiism has reduced the peoples trust towards their government.

Shia Rights Watch (SRW) calls for increased international attention in the case of Nigerian Shia Muslims. SRW offers its deepest condolences for the lives lost as a result of the anti-Shia action and provides its full support to those demanding justice in their communities.


Parachinar: Post-Conflict Remunerations

For Shia Muslims, the Holy month of Ramadan is a month of fear and anxiety as attacks on Shia congregations are prevalent. Terror Organizations feed on already existing anti-Shia sentiment to encourage suicide bombings.

On June 23rd, twin blasts went off in northwestern Pakistan. The city of Parachinar became the home to over 60 civilian deaths. The attacks took place in busy areas of town- one in a central bus station and another in the Toori Bazaar Market. On that same day, another explosion detonated in a Quetta police checkpoint killing 14 people. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, two prominent terror groups claiming responsibility for the attacks, strategically aimed their attacks on areas densely populated with Shia Muslims in the final days of Ramadan. The nature of attacks and their timing points to the groups’ goals of dehumanizing Pakistan’s Shia populations. To these hate-inciting groups, the motto “Ramadan Kareem” (Generous Ramadan) does not apply to the Shia minority as they are not regarded as part of the Islamic religion.

Over 300 people in total were critically injured as a result of attacks in Parachinar and Quetta- Shia Rights Watch anticipates a rise in death toll.

Anti-Shiism in Pakistan has an extensive history, and despite the authorities denouncement of violence, anti-Shiism remains as high as ever. Attacks on Shia congregations in Ramadan are not new, and despite official’s promise of increased security for this population, not much has been done to prevent attacks.

With close analysis, one can see a trend of authority involvement after cases of anti-Shiism, and that in response to immense and widespread Shia protests. It’s also important to note that Shia populations are most dense in geopolitically important areas of Pakistan and chaos in those regions create regional distress.

After the Parachinar terror attacks, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on provincial governor Iqbal Zafar to distribute monetary compensation to victims and their families. Those injured were given Rs 500,000 (appx. 5,000 USD), and family of those killed were given Rs 1,000,000 (appx 9,000 USD) checks. With money, the Pakistani government momentarily called for peace in the districts, but anyone looking at trends of violence in Pakistan can tell that attacks in the Shia community are nowhere near over.

The fact that two terror organizations were able to join and collaborate so extensively (as seen in these attacks) points to widespread systemic violence in the nation. Pakistani officials have done little regarding violence prevention and anti-hate education. Educational material that denounces Shia Islam and public speakers who call for the marginalization of Shia Muslims remain in circulation. Until Pakistani officials can work to reduce anti-Shia sentiment, violence will continue.

Shia Rights Watch (SRW) calls on regional authorities to recognize anti-Shiism as a leading cause of instability. Further, SRW demands Pakistani authorities not only focus their aids in post-conflict compensation but to understand the roots of violence in the nation as a form of violence prevention.

SRW applauds the Shia Pakistani community for their unity and activism in demanding recognition of their rights. Also, SRW condemns any act of violence towards or against Shia Muslims and offers its condolences for those bereaved by acts of anti-Shiism.

Unraveling Centuries of Power

In the month of June, five Shia Muslims were reported killed on the basis of their religion every day. Note, this statistic is based on incidents reported to Shia Rights Watch, and that from only six countries.  In the past decade, cases of anti-Shiism have become more and more evident in the news and social media.

One reason may be that with the development of communication mediums, minority populations have become more confident in their efforts for recognition. Easy communication, namely through the internet has allowed minority communities to join in their struggles. What was once 10% of the population can now be 50% of the world. Next, the internet has made public scrutiny of non-humanitarian endeavors difficult. When a nation commits a crime against humanity within its borders, the open flow of information opens doors to the international critic. Although efforts to limit Internet availability and communication censorship in various anti-Shia nations, the influence of technology cannot be undermined in the newfound wave of human rights campaigns in the world.

Toby Matthiesen, the author of The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent, and Sectarianism, once noted that to document political dissent and social unrest, one need not travel to conflicting nations. One can obtain the majority of his information through TV and social media outlets streaming from the conflict zone.

In addition to providing coverage for conflict, communication developments augment and empower equality building endeavors. During the Arab Spring, the international community stood witness to the numerous nations that had a change of regimes. The public and free flow of information through social media outlets allowed for grassroots members of the international community, you and me to be involved. We have first-hand information, minutes after major incidents. Such grassroots involvement allowed for international dichotomies to become permanent points in global history. Knowing details of non-human events enabled us to question the role of major political entities in diplomacy and criticize nations that stood for democracy in one nation, but opposed it in another.

In addition to international involvement, the internet allowed domestic awareness. In the case of Gulf countries, Shia Muslims recognized their membership as global citizens and were empowered by their ability to report and spread incidents of anti-Shiism in their nations. While many Gulf countries limit internet access and use media expression as grounds for arrests, complete censorship on the web is physically impossible.  Next, marginalized populations became aware of their domestic and regional resources. For instance, the Shia of Pakistan like in key strategic locations in the country. Unrest in those areas not only destabilizes the nation and makes it susceptible to foreign powers, but it also threatens the region as a whole. In one case, a community of Shia Muslims refused to bury their loved ones after a terror attack in protest the government’s lack of response. Days later, the prime minister himself traveled to that region to meet the small community and personally listen to grievances after neighboring nations threatened to pull trade deals in fear. Digital communication allowed for the small community to join and come to realize their power of persuasion.

As time goes by, the reduced need to raise arms in the struggle against tyranny becomes apparent. While some may think to achieve equality through media and technology is naïve, campaigns on the internet have proven to be permanently archived and broader in outreach. Social media post and news coverage may not be immediately responsive, but they remove the limitations of borders and allows the human race to join as one force against the bad and ugly. Modern communication mediums allow grassroots populations to develop a “human” narrative- one that is open sourced and free from political bias (mostly).

Who is Responsible?

Mapping Responsible Parties of Anti-Shia Violence from January – July 2015

Since the beginning of 2015, Shia Rights Watch has collected data on incidences of anti-shi’ism around the world. By our records and reports there have been a total of 2,959 Shia killed and 3,662 wounded in various bombings, attacks, and shootings in the seven months beginning January 1st and going until the end of July. Additional incidences of mosques being vandalized or demolished, citizenships being revoked, hate speeches, employment discriminati
on, and abductions have also been reported.

Of these events, various parties have declared responsibility for attacks that have claimed a total of 1,209 lives and left 1,281 wounded. Governments, as well as terror groups, have been responsible for many attacks and were named as responsible parties in instances of citizenship removal, illegal incarcerations, and violent suppression of peaceful attacks.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed thirty of the attacks that have occurred this year and are responsible for over  1,016 of the deaths recorded to date.

The group has claimed two of the largest attacks of 2015: the March 20th mosque attacks in Sana’a Yemen which resulted in 142 deaths with 350 wounded, and the July 18 bombing of Ramadan celebrations in Diyala, Iraq which resulted in the death of 120 men, women, and children, leaving 130 more wounded. The terrorist group also claimed responsibility for the Kuwait suicide bombings that took place at a Shia mosque as worshippers were gathered for prayer. This attack left 27 dead and 227 wounded. Moreover, on May 28th a mass grave was discovered in territory former controlled by ISIS. Over 470, mostly Shia, bodies were discovered.

More recently, there have been five bombings in late July that many officials are attributing to ISIS, although nobody from the organization has released a statement confirming their involvement yet. Between July 10 and July 25 there were 4 bombing attacks in Shia neighborhoods in Iraq, as well as a suicide bombing at a crowded swimming pool in Northern Iraq that targeted the Shia Turkmen minority. Combined these attacks left 81 dead and 180 wounded. The method and location of attacks is consistent with previous ISIS attacks and due to the recentness of the events it is too early to rule out ISIS involvement.

In recent months it has become clear that ISIS is one of the primary sources of chaos in the region. However, the Taliban is still very active in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since January 1st the terrorist group has claimed six attacks. The January 9th attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi resulted in 7 deaths followed by the February 13th attack in Peshwar that left 19 dead and 60 wounded. On June 10th the group abducted nine Shia in Damarda Afghanistan and forty-five days later on July 25th they kidnapped eighteen more Hazara Shia from Baghlan Afghanistan. Since the second abduction five victims have been released and negotiators are still working to get the rest home safely. While these attacks are heinous in nature the worst of the Taliban attacks occurred on June 20th as they beheaded six Shia Hazaras in Ajristan, Afghanistan. The New York Times suggests that in light of the growing media attention on ISIS’s attacks, the Taliban is plotting equally shocking attacks in order to gain recognition and media coverage as well.

While incidences of hate speech, discrimination, and forced denouncement of faith have been reported against the Egyptian, Indonesian, Nigerian, Saudi Arabian, and Pakistani governments, the Kingdom of Bahrain is by far the government currently carrying out the most attacks against Shia. 153 Shia protestors have been arrests including Sheikh Ali Salman who was arrested June 16 for tweeting about regime change, opposition leader Majeed Milad who was arrested July 2, and prominent opposition member Ibrahim Sharif who was arrested July 12. By March 11th there had been 155 recorded instances of mistreated Shia detainees in government custody – a number we expect to have increased since. These arrests all come after the 15 October 2014 death sentence of Shia Sheikh Nimr in Saudi Arabia, whose appeal was denied by Saudi Arabia authorities on March of 2015.

Moreover, The Bahraini government has stripped 72 people of their right to citizenship, 50 of which were confirmed members of the opposition.  Security forces have used violence to suppress at least three large protests resulting in one child being injured due to tear gas exposure as well as a thirteen year old boy being shot in the face by regime forces. Numerous home raids have occurred without cause and upwards of 46 Shia have been beaten. Prominent Bahraini Cleric Jalal al-Sharqi made a public statement on May 12th that denounced Shi’ism by accusing Shias of not believing in Allah and calling them Jewish and underserving of mercy.

A full list of groups taking responsibility for attacks includes: Al-Nusra Front (1), ASJ-TTP (1), Ahlus Sunnah wal Jammah (2), Bahraini government (18), Bahraini civilian militia (1), Egyptian government (2), Indonesian government (1), ISIS (30), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (1), Judallah (2), Lashkar-e-Jhaqui (1), Madagascar Police (1), Nigerian citizen (1), Nigerian Military (1), Punjab government in Pakistan (1), Saudi Arabian Authorities (2), Saudi-led coalition (10, Sipah-e-Sahaba (4), Somolian Mayor (1), Extremist Militia connected to ISIS (1), Tabliban (6), United Arab Emirates government (1).  This is a list to date of reported and confirmed instances of anti-shi’ism where there is a party clearly responsible for the attack. There are still countless unreported, unconfirmed, or unclaimed attacks that have occurred in the first seven months of 2015.

Date Responsible Party details Dead Wounded Arrests
28-Jul Al-Nusra Front Shooting at shrine in Damascus 2
7-Feb ASJ-TTP Habib Hussain was ambushed and killed 1
6-Jul ASWJ Quetta, Pakistan – open fire on 3 Hazara Shia 3 2
7-Jul ASWJ Quetta, Pakistan – Syed Hashim (Hazara) gunned down walking home 1
5-Feb Bahraini Government 72 people stripped of citizenship, 50 confirmed from the Shia Opposition Party
12-Jun Bahraini Government 57 Shia jailed, stripped of nationality, given sentences of 3 years to life 57
16-Jun Bahraini Government Sheikh Ali Salman sentenced to 4 years for tweeting about regime change 1
2-Jul Bahraini Government Majeed Milad, senior opposition, arrested because of accusations against the gov’t 1
11-Jul Bahraini Government Protest Suppression – tear gas
12-Jul Bahraini Government Arrest opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif 1
13-Jul Bahraini Government conducted raids in the districts of Karanah and al-Diraz
16-Feb Bahraini Civilian Militia Sitra, Bahrain one was arrested for insulting the king 1
12-Jan Bahraini Government 45 people beaten
30-Jan Bahraini Government Regime forces shot 13 year old boy in the face
13-Feb Bahraini Government Protest Suppression including 3 home invasions 48 20
17-Feb Bahraini Government Protest Suppression: Child received head injury after exposure to tear gas 1
18-Feb Bahraini Government 1 beaten by government forces
11-Mar Bahraini Government Numerous home raids resulted in 15 arrests 15
11-Mar Bahraini Government Between Jan 1 and March 11 reports of 155 mistreated detainees
22-Apr Bahraini Government 91 protesters arrested 91
12-May Bahraini Government Jalal al-Sharqi denounced Shia saying they do not believe in Allah, are Jewish, and deserve no mercy
14-May Bahraini Government Upheld Nabeel Rajab’s 6 month sentence for insulting public institutions
15-May Dr. Abdussamael Uma Doctor in Ayuba Nigeria wrote a letter the Nigerian President warning against Shia
30-Apr Egyptian Government Shut down kindergarten in Nile Delta Province for ‘promoting Shia ideology’
12-May Egyptian Government Physician sentence to 6 months for blasphemy, attempting to cause sectarian violence, and threatening national security because practicing Shia
11-Mar Indonesia Government 34 Shia prisoners forced to recant faith
18-Jan ISIS Bomb in Tuz, Iraq targeting Shia 13 25
8-Feb ISIS ISIS demolishes Shia shrine in Shifaa, Iraq
23-Feb ISIS Bombings destroyed 12 Shia homes in Monsul, Iraq
28-Feb ISIS Balad Ruz bombing 11 50
28-Feb ISIS Sabaa Al Bour mortar shells 3
9-Mar ISIS Larkana, Pakistan – vandalized on internal and external buildings
14-Mar ISIS 27+ bodies discovered in a mass grave near Shia town of Basheer, Iraq 27+
20-Mar ISIS Bomb went off in Sanaa Yemen. 3 mosques targeted 142 350
29-Mar ISIS beheaded 8 with the aid of child soldi3ers 8
6-Apr ISIS 2 bodies found in Zabul, Afghanistan 2
8-May ISIS Bombing in Balad Ruz 18 41
8-May ISIS Car bomb detonated  a worshippers left Imam Hussein mosque in Kanaan Iraq 4 18
8-May ISIS Bombing targeting commercial buildings in Hamamiyat neighborhood on Taji, Iraq 2 8
12-May ISIS Shia pilgrims targeted throughout the day in Baghdad 15 38
14-May ISIS Multiple car bombs around Baghdad targeting Shia 15 42
22-May ISIS Bomb at mosque in Qatif, Saudi Arabia as prayers were read 21 80+
22-May ISIS Targets 2 Yemeni mosques 13+
24-May ISIS Iraqi soldier executed then hung from bridge 1
28-May ISIS In former ISIS territory a mass grave with 470 (mostly Shia) bodies 470
29-May ISIS Immam Hussein Mosque in Damman, Saudi Arabia. Bomber dressed as woman 4 10
1-Jun ISIS Suicide bomber attacks police base in Anbar, Iraq 45 33
7-Jun ISIS Idlib, Syria – Air Strike killed 14 + 15 year old girls` 2 10
15-Jun ISIS Car bomb in Qahira, Baghdad 10 20
17-Jun ISIS 4 car bombs targeting Zaydi mosques during evening prayer in Sana’a, Yemen 31
20-Jun ISIS Car bomb in Sana’a, Yemen at Qabat al-Mandi mosque 2 6
26-Jun ISIS Kuwait suicide bombing at mosque 27 227
8-Jul ISIS Car bomb outside mosque in Sana’a, Yemen 1 5
18-Jul ISIS Khan Bani Saad, Iraq bombings at a market in Diyala celebrating end of Ramadan 120 130
20-Jul ISIS Attack bombing in mosque in Sana’a, Yemen 5 7
29-Jul ISIS IED attack on Ismali Mosque in Sana’a Yemen 4 6
16-May ISIS & Taliban Conflict Shia police officer shot in Karachi, Pakistan 1
22-Jul  ISIS blamed al-Shaab car bomb in Iraq 8 22
10-Jul ISIS blamed Series of bombs in Baghdad 14 41
12-Jul ISIS blamed Series of bombs in Baghdad 29 81
22-Jul ISIS blamed Al-Bayaa car bomb in Iraq 18 36
25-Jul ISIS blamed Suicide bombers attack busy pool in Northern Iraq targeting Shia Turkmen minority 12
7-Apr Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Beheaded 1 in Afghanistan with aid from Taliban 1
18-Feb Jundallah Suicide bomb in Rawalpindi, Pakistan 2 7
30-Jan Jundullah Bombing in Islamabad 60 50
7-Jun Lashkar-e-Jhaqvi Shooting in Quelta, Pakistan 5
20-Apr Madagascar Police Arrested 3 including the head of a Shia mosque for no apparent reason 3
25-Jul Nigeria military Military Personnel involved in killing 34 peaceful Shia Protestors 34
2-Mar Punjab Government Arrested Shia leader Allama Ghulam Raza in Lahore Pakistan
21-Apr Saudi Authorities 1 dead in shooting in Qatif, Saudi Arabia 1
15-Jul Saudi Authorities Khobar, Saudi Arabia – Shia man arrested and lashed for hosting weekly prayer meeting 1
30-Mar Saudi-led Coalition Airstike in Mazraq, Hajja Governorate – no apparent military target in the area 29 41
7-Jan Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting in Karachi, Pakistan 3
31-Jan Sipah-e-Sahaba 70 year old Shia man in Pakistan shot 1
18-Feb Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting in Karachi Pakistan 2
11-Mar Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting at the Khan Hotel in Kotla Jam, Pakistan 3
5-May Somalia Mayor Mayor of Mogadishu denounced Shi’ism and swore to fight the spread at any cost
10-Feb Extremist Militia connected to ISIS Bombing in Baghdad 14 43
9-Jan Taliban Rawalpindi, Pakistan bombing – attack on a Mosque 7
13-Feb Taliban Peshwar, Pakistan – bombing and shooting 19 60
2-Apr Taliban Damarda, Afghanistan 9 Shia abducted
20-Apr Taliban Beheaded 6 Shia Hazaras in Ajristan, Afghanistan 6
10-Jun Taliban Police officer gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan 1
25-Jul Taliban 18 Hazra Shias kidnapped in Baghlan, Afghanistan. Released 5 already
13-Mar UAE Government Deporting 62 Lebanese Shia

Children in Bahrain: From Playground to Prison

Shia Rights Watch paper in #HRC29 Side Event; “Children in Bahrain From Playground to Prison”


Childhood moments are meant to produce memories of carefree enjoyment. At the same time childhood experience cultivates the foundations of our education of society, and builds our understanding of the socio-structures of how to build upon our hopes to become adults who can participate in a meaningful and productive way in our communities, and to forge our own futures with the energetic exuberance that comes with youth, towards the ‘tomorrow‘ of the next generation.

It is not hard to understand that unlike other country’s future generations, Bahrain’s children have suffered from a wide and hideous range of psychological and physical health setbacks due to the continuous violence perpetrated against them.

Sadly neither the government of Bahrain nor the international community fully realize that without the future generation there will be no possibility for the great country that they enthusiastically hope for.

The consequence of the relentless and sustained oppression targeted at children has caused many to lose their lives and many others to live with debilitating medical problems directly associated with the inhumane treatment committed against them.

Considering the size of the population there are per capita so many who have faced discrimination, arrest, torture and the traumatic loss of a fellow classmate, or family member. This has left emotional scars and translates to diminished behavioral functionality.

These afore mentioned issues are evident in problematic relationships between them and their siblings and parents, and aggressive behavior at school is also a known factor, given the history of other countries experiences, for their future ability to have healthy interpersonal relationships either with their peers or furthermore into their marriages and relationships with their own children.

This ‘legacy of hurt’, violence and psychological torment is being perpetuated by the Bahraini Regime and their tactical abuse of children in an effort to decimate the culture and socially fragment the Opposition Community.

We have to clearly realize that the amount of violence that children face in that society brings them only anger sadness and anxiety. They worry about their family, they are disillusioned and saddened by the lack of access to a credible education, and they experience anger towards the society that is meant to support and nurture their growth. Now they are left be wildered, and bereft at being imprisoned for seeking respect, dignity and equality for their peers and their family members.

It is of great concern that children are themselves worried about the threat to their ability to have an identity, through the refusal of the regime to issue birth certificates or passports, just as they are unable to attend college and satisfy their right to equal access to education, and to help promote a better society for their fellow citizens.

Not being able to travel and discover the world will, without doubt, lead them to less tolerance and a lack of understanding toward other cultures.

Children who always dreamed of growing up to be a doctor such as Professor McCormack The pediatric doctor who went beyond his field of his expertise to defend the doctors in Bahrain,  an engineer such as Mustafa Akhwand, Founder of Shia Rights Watch who left his work as Computer programmer to defend Shia Rights, an activist like  Tara Raynor O’Grady, Irish activist who didn’t let her cancer destroy her confident and realize that there are many ways to support the people of Bahrain even during  her Chemo trophy, the moments that many people only think about their own health and feeling of their families  or such as many activist who sacrificed their time and effort for Bahrain, now have a dream instead to attend a meal with their family without being worried about potential    suffocation    of one their family members due to indiscriminate blanketing of Tear Gas in their village by regime forces, or their privacy violated and their peace interrupted by someone being dragged out into the street, beaten and removed to a detention centre and God knows what by foreign police paid to suppress the community.

Now, at this moment, it is actually in our hands to either support the regime who are slamming and locking shut all the doors against this targeted generation, or to gather our collective effort to shed light on their oppression and offer them hope towards a better path, the ability to follow their very reasonable and simple dream for freedom and stability.

Moharrams Message for Anti Shia Leaders

In the midst of ISIS intimidation in the area, Shia Muslims unite under the flag of Hussain, the third Shia Imam. Shia populations of Baghdad come together in Moharram to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, honoring the martyrdom of a man who fought for freedom and justice for all. The unification of the Shia majority has instilled fear in the nation’s Sunni minority. In examination, one must ask how and why a united Shia front instills angst in the Sunni minority of this nation. Despite centuries of discrimination worldwide against Shia practices, Shia still stand for their beliefs and show no sign of backing down. A united front is exactly what this nation needs in response to the massacres carried out by ISIS and other extremist organizations, and while Shia populations strive for unification against such terror groups, they are held under constant criticism.

1.400 years ago, Hussain’s 72 person army stood against the 140,000 army of the oppressive regime of his time in a land called Karbala. Hussains campaign for freedom has withheld the aversion of centuries, inspiring Shia unification against oppression and violence towards humanity. At least for a duration of a month in the year, Shia Muslims openly campaign against the terror of their time, yet as they stand for their beliefs, they are killed and eradicated. In 2014 alone, tens of people were killed all over the world, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, and even in the western nation of Australia. Mourners are targeted and massacred for their show of support for freedom.

Despite their peaceful campaign, Shia alliance is seen as a threat in the eyes of anti-Shia leadership. After centuries of enduring oppression, the Shia majority has finally come to power in Iraq, and still they face great criticism of sectarian support. One may say the enragement of Sunni populations is of a fear that the now in power Shia leaders will do to them as the Sunni leadership did and continues to do to Shia Muslims worldwide. They marginalized the Shia for generations and now they fear revenge. Little do they know, Shia Islam is that of kindness and peace.

Despite living under pressure for thousands of years, they have made it their aim to stand for their rights and are persistent in striving for Democracy. A rise of Shia power means an end to oppressive regimes, and that threatens the dictatorship of many majority Sunni nations. Throughout history, the Shia have proven their peaceful yet persistent opposition of oppressive dictators, Sunni populations have bowed their head to any and every rising regime of power. The flag of Hussain and his campaign for justice should not be that of intimidation but that of hope. Hussain fought for the right to choice, a deserved morale for anyone and everyone, yet by some, Shia fellowship in Moharram is called a support for “sectarianism”.

Hussains venture in Karbala should be examined for what it truly was: a stand for integrity. Moharram provides an opportunity to reexamine our values towards human rights and inspires us to withstand the tyrant of our time. Commemorations during this holy month is not that of intimidation, but a reminder for all to unite in the fight for human rights.

Therefore, our message for Anti-Shia leaders is to stop feeling threatened by this commemoration but instead join the effort to stop radicalization in their states.

By Zhara Akhwand

November 14, 2014