As 2016 begins, the aftermath of Sheikh Nimr’s execution has been an overwhelming concern of the human rights community and the Shia community. Since the execution last week, there have been protests around the world, in some places these occurred daily. In Saudi Arabia, the place of Sheikh Nimr’s execution, daily protests have condemned the regime’s actions. Shia protesters in the eastern province have continued the work of Sheikh Nimr by calling for greater freedoms for the Shia community in the country. In Bangladesh, the Shia community has staged demonstrations condemning the actions of the Saudi government. Around the world, the Shia community has staged peaceful demonstrations to show solidarity with the Saudi Shia community and condemn Shiekh Nimr’s execution.
In Fawkner, Melbourne, the more than 1000 member Shia community has been denied access to the Imam Ali Islamic Center and roughly 150 worshipers were subsequently forced to pray in the adjacent street. Following a dispute with the local council, the prayer hall was rendered inaccessible to the mosque attendants. The local council cited fire safety deficiencies in its decision to restrict access to the Islamic Center however the Shia community leaders stated that they were given insufficient time to rectify such issues. Shia Rights Watch urges both parties to quickly negotiate a settlement to return access of the center to the Shia community. Such a closure interferes in the free worship of the Melbourne Shia community.
The targeted assassinations of Shia shopkeepers has continued in Pakistan as Naveed Haider, 22 was shot and killed on Sarki Road in Quetta. In addition to Naveed Haider’s death, his brother Javeed Haider, 24, was also showt and is currently critically injured. According to reports, the assailants belong to Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) however they have yet to be identified or apprehended. Despite recent arrests by the Pakistani government of such terrorists, the actions have continued and Shia Rights Watch urges that more be done to protect the Shia community.
The Bahraini government has heightened its anti-Shiism following the execution of Sheikh Nimr. In addition to cutting diplomatic relations with Iran, it has worked to crush any dissent internally relating to the execution. Reports have surfaced saying that Bahraini Security forces have arrested Sheikh Ahmad al-Jidhafsi who is a senior Shia cleric after he attended rallies condemning the execution. This follows a year of tremendous onslaught from the Bahraini government against the majority Shia community. Shia Rights Watch condemns this arrests and calls for the release of all detained political prisoners.