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Shia Weekly News #43

Iraq

This past week, Iraqi security forces discovered eighteen bomb infused dolls along a key road between Baghdad and Karbala to be used for the upcoming Arbaeen pilgrimage. Security forces stated that these bombs were deliberately laid to target Shia children who were going to take part in the Arbaeen pilgrimage. This pilgrimage marks the end of the 40 day mourning period on the anniversary of Imam Hussein’s death. While no group has officially taken responsibility for the plot, ISIS has been suspected to be behind this plot. Shia Rights Watch condemns the deliberate targeting of Shia children and calls for the continued protection of this vulnerable group.

Afghanistan

According to an Associated Press report, up to 20 Shia Hazaras in the southern province of Zabul. The Hazaras have not been identified and it is not yet known if the abductees were men or women. Parallel to many previous kidnappings, the Hazaras were stopped and forced off of the bus. No group has yet to take responsibility for these attacks but the Taliban has been behind such attacks in the past. Shia Rights Watch condemns the continuous kidnappings and murders of Shia Hazaras in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan

In Peshawar, protests and a set in were sparked by the murder of a local Shia leader. Imam Hussain Shah was the vice president of the ANP in the Gunj area. Shah was also the caretaker of the Pathar Wali Imambargah which is located in the Mohallah Huda area of Peshawar. On Friday unidentified gunmen opened fire on him near the city’s police station as he was on his way to the imambargah for prayers. Despite the fact that this incident occurred near a police station, the assailants remain at large and neither the number of assailants nor their identities are known. Shia Rights Watch condemns the actions of the gunmen and supports the calls of the Shia community for an investigation into this attack. The government of Pakistan both at the national and local level must do more to protect the Shia community.

Saudi Arabia

Three Shia Muslims were injured in raids by Saudi security forces on Monday November 24th. Security forces raided shops in the town of Awamiyah and discharged their weapons at those present. One of those critically injured would be later arrested by security forces. The reason behind the raids has yet to be disclosed but this underlines the discrimination faced by the Shia community in Saudi Arabia. Even when subject to raids and violence, Shia Muslims aren’t afforded the right to know what is happening to them. Shia Rights Watch condemns these raids and calls on the Saudi government to disclose the purpose behind the raids.

Palestine

A well-known Shia Palestinian was shot and killed near Nazareth on November 21st. Sheikh Ahmad Shahwan was shot three times at his bookstore in the Iksal settlement. A Palestinian cultural figure who converted to Shiism in 1988, he was well known in his neighborhood as Haj Abu Muhammad. His death dealt a blow to both the Palestinian community and the Shia community and Shia Rights Watch calls for a proper investigation into this crime.

Bahrain

Beside arbitrary arrests, killings, citizenship depraving, the Bahraini kingdom is also responsible for number of forced disappearances.

Mohammad Taqi Hassa al-Ghossra is reported disappeared since November 3rd, 2015. According to local witnesses he was taken from his home by security forces and his family has not heard from him. The government denies having any information about his place. The family reported that he called home once and only said “ I’m Ok” with very low voice.

His family has been trying to find a trace of him or his file without any success.

Under international law, forced disappearances are considered one of the most serious violations of the fundamental rights of human beings. The United Nations General Assembly has said that forced disappearance “constitutes an offence to human dignity, a grave and flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms and a violation of the rules of international law.”

However” Disappearances” have come to be regarded as an exemplary violation practiced by abusive governments, including Bahraini government.

Bangladesh

Gunmen attacked Shia Mosque in northern Bogra, Bangladesh, raising the fears among the country’s Shia Community.

The goal of Anti-Shia terrorist groups is to raise tension between the communities and minorities in order to foster hatred towards one another.

Nigeria

Shia Muslims recently faced another attack by an Anti-Shia terrorist group, when suicide bombers approached the Shia procession in Nigeria’s Kano state, leaving over twenty-one people dead.

During the holy month of Muharram many Nigerian Shia gather together to commemorate Imam Hussein martyrdom, Anti Shia groups take advantage from this gathering to take a life of many Shia.

This time attach took place in the village of Dakasoya, southern village of Capital Kano.

 

Azerbaijan

In a wave of government crackdowns, four were killed in an Arbaeen ceremony in the town of Nadaran.

Azerbaijan is a majority Shia nation whose population has been suppressed for years.  In addition to ideological suppression, the people of Nadaran have witnessed great discrimination in regards to their economic and other legal (human) rights compared to the rest of Azeri villages. Post-raid, officials cut off utilities such as power and telephone lines, to the town and put up barricades.

The lack of freedom of speech in this nation has a long history as human rights activists, journalist and defense lawyers have been detained, interrogated and incarcerated for their actions and beliefs.

 

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