Date: September 19, 2014
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
President Barack Obama,
We at Shia Rights Watch write this letter to you to express our dismay at the violence against Shia populations in South-West Asia. Shia communities in Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria are in fear because of brutal attacks from terrorist groups on the basis of their religious affiliation.
Shia Rights Watch represents the numerous and diverse human rights concerns of the Shia population here in the United States which numbers between 200,000 and 400,000 people as well as the concerns of Shia abroad.
In Pakistan, attacks from terrorist groups such as Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jammat (ASWJ), which is affiliated with the Taliban, have killed dozens of innocent Pakistani Shia in Karachi. Our figures show that close to 500 Shia have been killed in Pakistan this year.
In Iraq, ISIS has carried out a systematic murder campaign against Shia populations throughout the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, and Najaf. Suicide bombings and beheadings have enhanced the fear of Shia civilians in the country. A car bomb near the Al-Mubarak mosque in the Karradah area of Baghdad which is predominately Shia killed 8 people and injured 18 others. The death toll for Shia in this country is close to 8,000 for 2014.
What the world has witnessed in 2014 against Shia populations around the world has not been a culmination of isolated events, but rather the violent manifestation of anti-Shia sentiment which has been intensifying in recent years.
The Shia communities of the United States and abroad urge you to stand up for the religious freedom of Shia Muslims through two main actions. First we urge you to work with the U.S. Department of State to add Pakistan to the list of countries of Particular Concern for religious freedom. Lastly we urge you to voice your support for a congressional resolution supporting the protection of the religious freedom of Shia Muslims throughout South-West Asia.
Director of Legislative Affairs
Shia Rights Watch