November 7, 2015
Optimism over proposed Indonesian legislation
There are currently plans to draft legislation to protect persecuted minorities in Indonesia. Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Lukmen Hakim Saifuddi told local news sources of his office’s plan to draft this legislation. This piece of legislation would address the rising wave of intolerance emerging from the predominately Sunni Muslim country. Minister Saifuddi noted that the bill will focus on halting the closure of Christian Churches and attacks of Shia and Ahmadiyya mosques. This legislative proposal received widespread approval among various religious groups. Shia Rights Watch sees this as a step in the right direction as Indonesia moves to fulfill Article 29 of its constitution which guarantees all citizens the right to worship in accordance with their beliefs.
Pakistan: String of attacks leaves five dead over past week
A string of vicious attacks over the past week left five people dead in four separate attacks. Gunmen from the group Sipah-e-Sahaba killed a Shia auto parts dealer in Karachi on October 31st. Last week it was also reported by Pakistani news agencies that the same group was responsible for abducting, torturing, and eventually beheading a six year only Shia girl. Three Shia men were killed in the cities of Mirpurkhas and Karachi by gunmen from the militant group Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal- Jamaat. Shia Rights Watch reaffirms its calls for the Pakistani government to do more to protect its Shia communities.
Bahraini forces clash with Shia communities commemorating Ashura
Shia mourners who were commemorating Ashura in Bahrain were attacked by Bahraini security forces. Reports state that forces raided several villages and destroyed and removed several lack flags that are used for the commemorations. In the village of Ma’ameer, Bahraini security forces clashed with protesters and used teargas to disperse them.
Violence continues in Iraq
This week Human Rights Watch released a report documenting the events over the previous summer when ISIS militants conducted mass executions of Shia prisoners at the Badouysh Prison near the Iraqi city of Mosul. The report concludes that nearly 600 Shia inmates were killed with only 30 surviving. The report also notes that days after this event, ISIS killed scores of Iraqi soldiers, execution style in the city of Tikrit. These two events which occurred over the summer have been the two major events in which the world has been exposed to the brutality of ISIS towards Iraqi Shia. In a separate event 34 people were killed in 3 car bombs that detonated this past Sunday in Baghdad. The bombs targeted Shia pilgrims who were traveling through the city on the way to Karbala to commemorate Ashura. Two bombs were detonated in downtown Baghdad, with another being detonated in the Sadr city section of Baghdad. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings but many believe ISIS is behind them because of a string of car bombings that they have claimed responsibility for.
Suicide bombing kills 20 Shia during Ashura commemorations in Nigeria
A suicide bomber this past Monday detonated himself in the Northern Nigerian town of Potiskum which is a known Boko Haram stronghold. The bomber ended up taking the lives of 20 Nigerian Shia as they were gathered in the city to commemorate Ashura. No group has taken responsibility for the attack but many believe that this attack was orchestrated by Boko Haram which has preaches hate against Shia.
Gunmen attacks Iraqi Shia religious leader in Australia during Ashura commemorations
On Monday, Ashura commemorations were tragically interrupted as an Iraqi Shia leader was shot in the face by an ISIS supporter in Sydney, Australia. Rasoul Al Mousawi was shot in the face and in the shoulder outside of a prayer hall in the Greenacre neighborhood of Sydney. This event shows the spread of the activities of ISIS beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria and the need for governments around the world to protect its Shia communities.