Dear Fellow Shia Muslims,
As a human rights NGO dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of Shia Muslims globally, we are writing to bring to your attention the veneration and importance of practicing safety in your community in the month of Muharram.
Muharram, the first month of the lunar calendar marks not only the beginning of a new year but historical events that stand as a cornerstone to the Shia faith. On the Tenth of the Holy month, Islamic history marks the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad along with 72 of his supporters in the modern-day Karbala, Iraq.
While the event of Muharram is recognized as central to the Shia display of religious identity, Hussain’s message of human dignity is recognized not only by Shia Muslims but also populations of Christians, Zoroastrians and even Hindu’s all over the world. Observers of Hussain’s sacrifice against tyranny congregate with aims of education in the value of human life and the importance of human dignity in the face of violations.
Muharram is the time Shia Muslims openly campaign against the terrors of their time, and therefore they are subject to many violations. Forms of anti-Shiism range from direct violence to discrimination and limitations in expression. Every year thousands of Shia Muslims are either killed or wounded or their centers closed
To prevent such violations and to ensure the safety of Shia community, SRW presents following tips with the aim of creating a united platform for expression that not only meets religious guidelines but also lends to international and domestic regulations.
We encourage you to pay attention to following advisory tips:
Know your rights as knowledge is key to rights,
- As constituents your nation, you have civil liberties. Familiarize yourself and your community with the nation’s defined human rights and freedom of religion.
Build a relationship with your community law enforcement
- Approach your community law enforcement and communicate your observations for the month of Muharram.
- Seek consultation from your local police department on the placement of security measures such as camera systems and alarms.
- Ask for increased security. In many communities, police provide special security for your institution given your coordination. Keep in mind increased security measures must be requested in advance.
- If needed, obtain the necessary congregation permits in advance.
Reach out to Government Representative:
- Meet with the governor and mayor of your town. Have a conversation of your concerns. Reach out and open a line of communication.
Be cognizant of your non-practicing community
- Recognize that you are a part of a larger community that may or may not commemorate Muharram.
- Respect local regulations.
- Reach out and communicate an increase in activity to neighbors and surrounding institutions.
- Prepare and provide brochure or pamphlets educating others on the significance and relevance of Muharram.
In case of a human rights violation, Know Your Resources!
- In case of emergency, contact your local police immediately.
- Contact Shia Rights Watch to inquire rights based counseling and broadcast.
- Use #Muharram2018 to update the international Shia community as well as media outlets of recent anti-Shia incidents.