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Hajj of 2015 and Shia in Saudi Arabia

Hajj was meant to a be a spiritual experience where humans practice sympathy, and being humble as millions of Muslims with different school of thought, economic statues and social class gather on one land performing rituals. However Saudi Arabia uses Hajj
season to pressure minorities within Islam, especially Shia Muslims. Every year many Shia Muslims, Specially Shia clerics, complain about Saudi officials’ bad behavior and mistreatment during holey Hajj pilgrimage.

Hajj of 2015 is happening now and SRW has received number of complains already. Number of Shia pilgrims from different countries around the world have been stopped, searched, and questioned for hours as they arrived to Medina airport. Mr Nawab is one example of pilgrims who was pressured and insulted on Sunday, September 13th as he arrived in Medina Ari port. The well-known clerics was separated from his group, taken to an isolated room where he was ordered to take off his religious attire and even his cloths. “I was standing and waiting for a long time while I was only in my underwear” Mr Nawab explained to SRW representative. “As a cleric is it very awful and insulting to be in underwear while number of officers come to me asking many questions about the reason behind my trip to Saudi Arabia”, “this is Hajj season and as a cleric I am here to guide my group through their ritual journey” he continued while he was shaking.

Mr Nawab explained how he was dehumanized and frightened while he was isolated from the rest of his group not knowing where he is going to end up. At the end of interview with SRW he requested his official name and identity not be publicized although he is British citizen and should be able to ask British embassy to follow up on his case and advocate for his rights as SRW is doing.

Saudi Arabia, the host of millions pilgrims on annul Hajj, could use this opportunity to unify and help nations yet this opportunity is used to pressure many. Since the year 2014 SRW has been able to dedicate official hot line to support US citizen during Hajj seasons. This NGO aims to work with other governments to designate official hot lines to support their citizens during Hajj and other trips to countries with high human rights violations.

SRW encourages Saudi Arabia and other countries where minorities are considered second class citizen to protect their residence as they live in that country hoping for their governments to care for them and help them via dual rights relationships.

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