Bi-Annual Report 2018

Anti-Shiism is prevalent and spreading in 2018. Already halfway through the year, the number of countries where Shia Muslim violations have occurred increased from 6 in January to 16 by the end of June. Countries examined in this report for their anti-Shiism include Nigeria, Bahrain, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Iraq, Canada, India, Afghanistan, and Israel. Some of the worst months for Shia Muslims thus far are January and April, each having 673 total incidents of Anti-Shiism. Already at half of the year, there have been a total of 356 Shia killed, 812 Shia wounded, 352 Shia sentenced, and 666 Shia arrested. Some standard methods of anti-Shia attacks include shootings, bombings, torture, home raids, abductions, deportation, denial of medical care, institutionalized anti-Shia laws, stabbings and more. Currently, the most dangerous country for Shia civic and human rights violations is Bahrain, leading with a total of 1,287 anti-Shia incidents. From January to June 2018 there was an average of 468 cases of Anti-Shiism per month worldwide.

April is one of the months with the highest cases of Anti-Shiism, and because April coincides with the month of Shaban in which Shia Muslims celebrate a number of occasions. The spike of violations during this month is aimed at limiting the Shia communities participation in Shia related activities or gatherings.

It is important to note that Shia rights abuses listed in this report are a summary of incidents that have been reported to Shia Rights Watch. Violations are not limited to those in this report. More information can be found on ShiaRightsWatch.org.

 

BAHRAIN:

Bahrain started 2018 with a total of 497 incidents of anti-Shiism in January, the majority of which were arrests and sentences. Now, halfway through the year, Bahrain is at a total of 1,287 cases of anti-Shiism. Although Bahrain is a Shia majority nation, it is governed by a non-Shia monarchy that systematically tyrannizes Shia Muslims due to their ideological beliefs, and continuously violate the fundamental Human Rights of the Shia Community. While the reported number of physically wounded only totals seven during the first six months of 2018, it is estimated that the exact number is likely higher due to abuses sustained during detention. The usage of torture is prevalent in Bahraini prisons, and physical abuse is widely underreported or ignored in any official capacity. Many detainees suffer serious health issues and are repeatedly denied access to medical attention while imprisoned, and those with pre-existing conditions suffer severe deteriorations in their health.

The total number of arrest made was 678, and many of those arrested continue to be detained without proper due process procedures. Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial.” Article 9 also addresses the right to legal representation with consent, with adequate time allowed to prepare for a defense strategy. These rights have been stripped away from countless citizens of Bahrain, and Shia Muslims, in particular, are targeted. The most significant number of Shia arrests occurred in March 2018 with 178 incidents, proving March to be the most dangerous month for Bahrain so far this year.

The total number of other cases of Anti-Shiism include home raids, deportation, abductions, denial of medical care, and destruction of Shia Mosques, totaling an additional 602 incidents. The highest number of Shia arrests occurred in March 2018 with 178 events, proving March to be the most dangerous month for Bahrain so far this year. March was full of Bahraini officials cracking down on alleged acts of “terrorism,” even relating terrorism to accusations of affiliation with Iran.

Compared to other countries, Bahrain has the most systematically oppressive laws explicitly designed to target Shia Muslims. For example, King Hamad banned members from Shia opposition parties from running in upcoming elections. Limitations in civic activity is a ban that strips Shia of their political rights. Bahrain continues to imprison Shia Muslims that disagree with the regime for reasons of “treason,” unjustly and systematically oppressing them.

 

Additionally, Shia Muslims who have been convicted of a felony for critiquing the oppression of the Bahraini government, or expressing their religious identity cannot run for parliament, which includes many activist or clerics that have been sentenced for dissenting or opposing the laws and practices of the Bahraini government.

Ultimately, the majority of incidents against Shia Muslims result in them becoming prisoners of conscience with the entire legal system revolving around the repression of Shia Muslims.

 

NIGERIA:

Nigeria started the year with only two cases of Anti-Shiism in January and spiked up to a total of 329 by the end of June. Arrests make up 89% of all incidents of anti-Shiism in Nigeria, with a total of 293 so far this year. Most of these arrests occurred in April.

In April, a week after the daughter of Sheikh Zakzaky declared that Nigerian officials continued to deny her father necessary medical treatment for his deteriorating glaucoma. About 230 reported peaceful protesters were arrested as they gathered to demand the release of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, an Islamic Movement leader, unjustly held in prison by the Nigerian Federal Government since December of 2015. In an attempt to disperse the crowd, Nigerian police officers opened fire on the group and employed the use of tear gas, killing one person and injuring two. Although there was a 2016 court order authorizing the release of Zakzaky, the authorities have failed to enact the order. Shia protestors say they are being specifically targeted and are unjust victims of police brutality. Systematic targeting of Shia Muslims is a violation of Article Eighteen of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes the universal right to freedom of belief and religion. Although 89% of Nigeria’s cases were arrests, Shia Muslims are still being killed and wounded in Nigeria. So far in 2018, five people have been killed and another 25 injured for being Shia. Most attacks have been carried out by police forces.

 

SAUDI ARABIA:

Anti-Shia action is rapidly growing in Saudi Arabia. The year began with one case of reported anti-Shiism in January, but by the end of June had 33 total incidents total. In the first six months of 2018, the total number of incidents of anti-Shiism in Saudi Arabia included three people killed, one wounded, 26 arrested and three other acts of anti-Shiism. Saudi Arabia saw the most cases of anti-Shiism so far this year in June when officials detained 17 high profile female activists.

These female activists were arrested for advocating for a progressive reform for women’s rights. These arrests, as well as reports of intimidating phone calls warning activists to remain silent, are being viewed as a reiteration that only the government has the power to enact change and that protests against the traditional modus operandi will not be tolerated, leading to activist arrest by charges that are anti-establishment activities. SRW notes that in Saudi Arabia female activist are more likely to be arrested, with the more than half of the cases of arrest and sentencing explicitly being female activists.

 

 

IRAQ:

As the dominance of ISIS has diminished in Iraq, we have seen the overall level of violence in the country come down. However, there are still clear incidents of anti-Shiism being enacted all across the countryside. Iraq has had a spike in terror activity and strategic attacks in Shia-majority regions this year as the efforts to minimize the influence and prevalence of this population increases. Shia neighborhoods in Baghdad continue to be one of the most affected areas of sectarian violence, and Iraq overall is one of the most turbulent locations for Shia Muslims. Iraqi Shia were victims of roadside bombings, suicide bombings, mosque bombings, targeted poisoning, snipers, shootings, and beheadings. The most deadly day came in January when twin suicide bombings in a public square killed 38 people, wounding another 105. Overall, 186 people were killed and 524 injured for their faith during the first six months of 2018. With a total of 710 physically violent incidents of anti-Shiism, Iraq is one of the most dangerous places for Shia Muslims in the world.

 

AFGHANISTAN:

2018 started off relatively quietly for Afghanistan but progressing into March and April; there was a sharp spike in anti-Shia incidents. Suicide bombings during these two months alone took the lives of 118 Afghan Shias, wounding 228 others in the process. The most significant day came on April 22nd in Kabul with multiple attacks. Bombers targeted Hazara Shias at voter registration locations, killing 63 and wounding over 100 others as they waited in line to get their voter cards. ISIS claimed responsibility and said they were intentionally targeting Shia. Later that afternoon, a roadside bomb took the lives of 6 others, making it the deadliest day of 2018 so far. Lack of institutional protection for minorities like Shia Muslims has left this population vulnerable to targeted attacks from extremist groups like ISIS and the Taliban, two groups who consider Shia to be infidels because of their faith. In the first six months of 2018, the total number of Afghan Shia killed rose to 122, and the number wounded in attacks grew to 233.

Reports and analysis detailing vulnerability of ethnic Shia populations such that of the Hazara can be found on ShiaRightsWatch.org.

 

PAKISTAN:

Like Afghanistan, Shia Muslims in Pakistan live with the constant threat of targeted terrorism due to a lack of substantial government interventionist measures. Radical anti-Shia sentiment is allowed to flourish, making Pakistan a hotbed for violent incidents of anti-Shiism.

The fear for Pakistan’s future is that extremist groups like Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama (ASWJ) will continue to assert their influence on the government in a systematic fashion, normalizing violence against the Shia population until anti-Shiism becomes institutionalized. For example, in March, a member of the ASWJ used his connections at the JUI political party to bring charges of blasphemy against 20 Shia Muslims in the Sindh province. This case was a blatant attempt to normalize blasphemy as punishable by law to make religious discrimination in Pakistan systematic, rather than just an extremist sentiment.

Overall, 30 Shia Muslims were killed in Pakistan in the first six months of 2018, while 25 others were wounded. These numbers are down drastically compared to the first six months of 2017, but as pointed out, institutional discrimination is on the rise and is an issue that will need to be monitored closely moving forward.

 

OTHER:

Other countries around the world are contributing to the spread of anti-Shiism in a variety of ways. In a recent video published by the head of the Arab media division for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Avichay Adraee commented that the Shia are a threat to the stability of the region, inviting “Arabs and Muslims” to take his advice and resist Iran. Adraee references sources in Islamic literature to warn about the Shia faith, and then talks about the danger of Iran’s influence on the region. Although it is expected for an Israeli officer to have negative comments on Iran and reaction to its political movements, it is not acceptable to degrade a faith or religion and associate them with a specific country. SRW believes such action and comments from the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit is a certain false association. Limiting Shia to one nation and identifying them as a threat by Adraee is clear evidence that there must be more education and advocacy for Shia rights. Shia Muslims must not be associated with any particular country, political or ethnic group.

There was a similar thread of Anti-Shia rhetoric in South Africa in May with postings such as “If you kill a Shia you go straight to heaven,” and “When walking in the street, or in public places, it’s becoming increasingly important to become vigilant as to who may be a Shi’ah, and who may be not. Here are some general guidelines…” These remarks were posted on Facebook accounts and aired on local radio talk shows. Shia Muslims have been proven to be positive and peaceful contributors to their communities and are loyal to their homelands no matter what country they belong to. However, with the spread of anti-Shia speech, the anti-Shia sentiment is prevailing.

Elsewhere, Shia Muslims are experiencing forced disappearances for their beliefs. In Malaysia, a foreign exchange trader went missing after it was discovered he followed the Shia Muslim tradition.

In February, a prominent Shia leader and activist were shot dead in Kashmir region of India by ISIS terrorists as he was traveling.

Furthermore, lest it is thought that anti-Shiism doesn’t affect Shia communities in the West, in February prayer stones in University of Toronto prayer room were vandalized, and a letter was left stating: “To the Shia: No such thing as following Imam Ali. And no such thing as using a stone for praying. – Kind Regards.”  This is further proof that anti-Shiism sentiment knows no boundaries and can be used against Shia Muslims anywhere, anytime, for any reason.

 

 

 




Expansion of Anti-Shia Laws in Bahrain

07/09/2018

Author:  Hannah Westphall

After 9/11, the US adopted an ideology of “war on terror,” a systematic campaign using a variety of legislative and judicial methods designed to target extremist groups bent on the destruction of civil society. Some have suggested that in the years following many authoritarian regimes have adopted similar “war on terror” policies with the purpose of gaining international recognition for positive cooperation in the global fight against terrorism. More to the point, critics say that in reality, these laws are just a thinly veiled method of systematically discriminating against political dissidents, peaceful protestors and activists, and civil society organizations.

In Bahrain, the passage of these types of “anti-terrorist” laws have opened the doors to legalizing criminalization of basic rights and freedoms of society such as political dissent and the freedoms of speech and assembly. After a series of popular anti-government protests began in 2011, the Bahraini government began a systematic crackdown on protesters and Shia clerics who had organized calls to abolish the monarchy and reform the government. Now, a group of organized citizens gathering together to raise their concerns about abuses of power can be targeted by the law as “terrorists” for threatening the authorities. By keeping the definition of “terrorism,” broad, authorities can apply punishments to any number of legitimate civil activities in which they can allege are harmful against the kingdom or which damage national unity.

Bahrain has 1.57 million people, the majority of which are Shia Muslims. The remaining population demographics are split, but Sunni Muslims are the second largest group, which includes the royal family who follows in the hardline Wahhabi fundamentalist movement.

The Bahraini authorities have spent years creating laws with the sole intent of targeting citizens of the Shia faith. According to Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), the king has abused his authority by invoking these new provisions and amendments without referring to parliament’s legislative authority, giving him “unrestricted discretionary authority over pre-trial detention, investigative authority, the formation of the advocacy and offense characterization.” Article 160 of the Penal code states that a person can be imprisoned for promoting “in any manner the overthrow or changing the political, social or economic system of the State where the use of force, threat, or any other illegitimate method is noticed.” Likewise, possession or distribution of documents or recordings that can be perceived as anti-State can also be punished.  This is a clear threat to freedom of the press and a free media, protections which are championed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These violations also go against Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial.” It also addresses the right to legal representation with consent, with adequate time to prepare for a defense strategy. These rights have been stripped away from countless citizens of Bahrain, and Shia Muslims, in particular, are being targeted.

Evidence suggests that enforcement of these laws have risen exponentially in number and severity as a direct reaction to the popular uprisings which began in February of 2011. As a result, there have been thousands of prosecutions — both judicial and extra-judicial — against “terrorists,” which, in reality, are political trials against the exercise of fundamental civil and human rights. Using an example from a mass trial in May of 2018, a Bahraini court used terrorism-related charges to sentence 115 Shias to imprisonment in addition to revoking their citizenship. Not only did this trial violate international fair trial standards, but there is a reason to believe many alleged confessions were coerced or were obtained under violent conditions of torture. Additionally, since the constitution was amended in 2017, Bahrain has instituted the use of military courts to adjudicate civilian cases, a direct violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that trying civilians in military courts should be prohibited unless all other legal provisions have been exhausted. As the authorities have consolidated their powers over the entire judicial process, the need to show proof of due process has become obsolete.

Article 29 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which has been ratified by Bahrain, states that “Every person has the right to a nationality, and no citizen shall be deprived of his nationality without a legally valid reason.” The revocation of citizenship has been a prominent method for punishing Shia dissidents in Bahrain. Since 2012, well over 700 people, mostly Shias have had their citizenship revoked. The government often claims the accused are acting as agents of a foreign government as the reason for this punishment. The addition of the aforementioned “anti-terrorism” laws have given Bahraini authorities alleged justification for this type of cruel punishment which is in clear violation of international standards for basic human and civil rights. The government has also engaged in intimidation tactics, bringing trumped-up charges against family members of dissenters, protestors, journalists, and lawyers as another form of systematic oppression. As Shia Rights Watch has previously reported, these so-called “anti-terror” efforts became even more questionable when a royal decree amended juvenile delinquency to include participation in public gatherings and sit-ins, justifying the arrest of minors. Shia Rights Watch approximates over 450 minors were detained calling into question Bahrain’s ratification of the Convention of Rights of a child in 1992.

In June of 2018, the King of Bahrain approved an amendment to the current election law. Dubbed “The Exercise of Political Rights,” the law prohibits “leaders and members of political associations dissolved for violating the kingdom’s constitution or its laws” from running as a candidate for election. Additionally, anyone “convicted of a felony, even if they have been granted amnesty” are officially barred from running for office. With parliamentary elections on the horizon this fall, the kingdom is seeking to solidify its hold on power by systematically eliminating virtually all formal opposition These new amendments have been condemned by the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, a Shia opposition group that was disbanded in 2016 by the Al Khalifah regime. According to Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Bahraini officials “shut down [al-Wefaq’s] website, closed its headquarters, and seized its assets.” Al-Wefaq released a statement condemning the amendments, saying that “the legislation deprives more than 50,000 Bahraini nationals of their civil and political right to run in elections.” They have previously stated that the government’s insistence on crushing political dissent is “irrational and irresponsible” and is done with the intent to “destroy political and social life by blocking the people out.” Also, authorities have blatantly gerrymandered districts to ensure that the Shia population is underrepresented, that government supporters are favored, and to prevent opposition groups from being able to gain more significant influence in politics.

Ultimately, all of these heinous actions taken by the Bahraini government has radically altered the political, cultural, and socioeconomic landscape of Bahrain. By silencing opposition and explicitly targeting Muslims of the Shia faith, the government of Bahrain has devolved into one of the gravest enemies of human rights and freedom of conscience. Shia Rights Watch calls on the Bahraini authorities to uphold their international obligations to respect human rights and protect the freedoms the international community holds as fundamental as enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Governments by design are charged with the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all of their citizens, regardless of race, color, or creed, and must create a national dialogue that allows for political participation, activism, and dissent. Authorities must end military trials for civilians, illegal detention of dissenters, the use of torture and coercion on detainees, and the implementation of mass stripping of citizenship as punishment. In line with the European Parliament’s joint resolution on the human rights situation in Bahrain, SRW “encourages the Government of Bahrain to aim for stability through reforms and inclusive reconciliation in an environment in which legitimate and peaceful political grievances can be expressed freely.”




Incidents of Anti-Shiism in June 2018

Anti-Shiism is extended to June, and compared to May, the number of people killed and wounded has almost tripled. With 206 cases of anti-Shiism, Shia Muslims continue to be under attack in countries like Bahrain, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Shia Muslims have faced inhuman outcomes of discrimination with sentencing, arrests, anti-Shia speech, stabbings, shootings, and bombings. Freedom of expression, freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile, and freedom of belief and religion are relentlessly deprived from Shia Muslims just because of their religious identity.

 

Highlighted cases in countries around the world spread awareness of the prevalence of anti-Shiism, and the attacks the religious community faces. Shia Rights Watch notes that there have been 2,186 reported cases of Anti-Shiism so far in 2018.

 

An unusual new wave of anti-Shiism was observed during June, concerning the rights of Shia Muslims. In a recent video published by Avichay Adraee, a major and the head of the Arab media division of the in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit, Adraee commented that Shia are a threat to the stability of the region, inviting “Arabs and Muslims” to take his advice and resist Iran. Adraee references sources in Islamic literature to warn about Shia, and then talks about the danger of Iran’s influence on the region. Although it is expected from an Israeli officer to have negative comments on Iran and reaction its political movements, it is not acceptable to degrade a faith or religion and associate them with a specific country.

SRW believes such action and comments from the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit is a definite false association.  Shia Muslims must not be associated with any particular country or political group. Shia Muslims have been proven to be positive and peaceful contributors to their communities and are loyal to their homelands no matter what country they belong to. Limiting Shia to one nation and identifying them as a threat based by Adraee is clear evidence that there must be more education and advocacy for Shia rights.

 

Bahrain

Peaceful protesters and opposition leaders are persistently incriminated in Bahrain. June marks 100 weeks since the ban on Friday prayers at major Shia mosques. This ban was the result of a silent sit-in protest, as deterrence for the congregation. King Hamad banned members from Shia opposition parties from running in an upcoming election, stripping them of their political rights. Bahrain continues to imprison Shia Muslims that disagree with the regime for reasons of “treason,” unjustly oppressing them. Additionally, Shia Muslims who have been convicted of a felony for expressing their religious identity or critiquing the oppression of the Bahraini government cannot run for parliament, which includes many activist or clerics that have been sentenced for dissenting or opposing the opinions of the government. Shia Muslims are continuously deprived of freedom of expression and are increasingly becoming prisoners of conscience. Bahrain adds to its already lengthy list of citizenship revocations by stripping five Shia Muslims of their citizenship. Shia Rights Watch notes that there has been increased ratification of new laws that target Shia Muslims. Details into increased systemic anti-Shiism in Bahrain can be found on ShiaRightsWatch.org.

After being in prison for a year over charges that violate Nabeel Rajab’s freedom of expression, Rajab got the chance to see his son Adam for the first time since his imprisonment. Although Rajab’s visit marked a step forward for just laws, his appeal was rejected by The Bahraini Court of Appeal. Rajab was unjustly sentenced to five years in prison in February for tweeting about his disappointments in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and condemning Manama’s treatment of prisoners.

The Manama regime arrested Rajab because he was “harming the interest” of the country, but in reality the Manama regime is violating several recognized universal human rights of Rajab such as Article Seven: the right to equality before the law; Article Eighteen:  freedom of belief and religion; Article Nineteen: freedom of opinion and information; concluding with Article Thirty:  freedom from state or personal interference in the above Rights.

With a similar case, Activist Najah Al-Sheikh was sentenced to three years in prison over a social media post, for trying to “overthrow” the Bahraini regime. While imprisoned, Al-Sheikh has reported many acts of torture including sexual assault and beatings.

While on house arrest for over 300 days, Sheikh Isa Qasim is denied healthcare. While Sheikh Isa Qasim was being transferred to the hospital, two of his sons were arbitrarily arrested. Not only did the Bahraini government risk Sheikh Qasim’s life by delaying medical aid despite his critical health, officials Qasim as an instrument to arrest other members of the Shia community.

There have been an additional 14 life sentences given to activists and clerics this month. Three other clerics were sentenced to death. Clerics and activist are targeted because of their religious practices and because they question the regime’s human rights violations.  Bahrain continues to violate human rights and impose cruel sentences on the Shia Muslim community. By handing down brutal punishments, Bahrain aims to silence activist.

Anti-Shiism continues to be promoted, and harsh punishments are handed to anyone that criticizes human rights violations. A total of 12 anti-regime protesters were sentenced for “illegal gathering.” Three were sentenced to five years, while four others were sentenced to three years and ordered to pay USD 1000 (378 BDN). Another one-year sentence was upheld. Two were sentenced to three years, and the final two were sentenced to one month.

Zakih Issa al-Barboury, 28, and Fatima Dawood Hassan, 19, are activists arrested during raids on their homes in Nuwaidrat for alleged charges due to their anti-regime activism.

Fatima Dawood Hassan was released from prison, after being arbitrarily detained, while her aunt Zakiya Issa Al-Barboury remains behind bars.

Minor, Haidar Al-Mulla goes on hunger strike after spending two years of his 23-year sentence in prison. Al-Mulla has already been stripped of his citizenship, and the Bahraini government wants to press further charges against him, pushing him into signing a false confession with threats of increased time in solitary confinement. Mohamed Al-Mulla has also reportedly been placed in solitary as a result of his brother’s hunger strike and has also had his citizenship revoked. Activists say that they have endured torture while in detention and have been denied medical attention for injuries sustained during their imprisonment.

Three life sentences were upheld with five years added on to each term for protester’s alleged violence in 2014. Other penalties include six protesters sentenced to three years in prison, one protester sentenced to 15 years in prison, one protester sentenced to three years in prison, and two others sentenced with long prison terms. In reality, the Al Khalifa Regime is falsifying charges to punish protesters for wanting a just government system.

In June, there was a total of four arrests and 46 inhuman sentences given to Shia Muslims in Bahrain. Shia Muslims are systematically oppressed, and they have a higher chance of becoming prisoners of conscience in Bahrain with more than 100 cases of arrest being due to ideological views expressed.

 

Nigeria

Police opened fire on a group of people peacefully protesting the arrest of illegally detained Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, a Shia community leader in Nigeria. The riot police employed tear gases and live bullets to fire into the crowd as they marched. At least three people have been injured, one critical, say, witnesses.

The United States of America continues to supply deadly fighter jets to the Nigerian Army with knowledge of the illegal killings of innocent Shia Muslims. Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has written the United States Congress asking them to impose sanctions and an embargo on Nigeria until these inhumane, unjust murders cease to exist. The United States is ignoring The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, supplying weapons to a military that murders Shia Muslims. This is allowing the Nigerian Military to further harm Shia Muslims. Over 300 Shia Muslims were killed two years ago by the Nigerian Army due to extralegal killings, and the supply of deadly weapons to Nigeria from The United States still occur.

 

Syria

Two Shia-majority Syrian towns, al-Fouaa and Kefraya, have become the center of an escalation in fighting and unrest. The villages have been referred to by the UN as the last besieged population remaining in Syria, and the most recent air strikes in June have killed dozens including civilians, women, and children. On June 10th, at least 7 Shia were confirmed killed in the clashes, and two other civilians were injured, as a result of sniper fire. On June 27th, fighting broke out again, but there is no word on potential casualties.

 

In Syria, lack of security and stability in the region has limited media access to locations where fighting is heaviest. Since the most recent outbreaks of violence have been concentrated in Shia-majority areas, it is believed that the actual number of victims is much higher than is currently being reported.

 

Iraq

On June 2nd, 12 civilians were killed by ISIS in a terrorist attack in the Salahuddin region of northern Iraq. All 12 victims, which included women and children, were from the same family. Although an investigation into this attack has been launched, no motive for targeting this specific family were evident early on.

Just a few days later, a deadly twin blast on June 6th targeting a neighborhood Mosque in Sadr City, a predominantly Shia district in Baghdad, has resulted in the deaths of at least 18 people with the list of wounded now up to 90.

In Iraq, like Syria, a severe lack of consistent, reliable reporting leads many to believe the number of casualties in the Shia communities is grossly underrepresented.

 

Saudi Arabia

In a sweeping crackdown spanning the months of May and June, the Saudi government has arrested 17 people for engaging in what was dubbed “anti-establishment activities.” As of June 19th, 9 of the 17 remain in custody, but the authorities have stated that the release of the others may only be temporary. In response, the UN has acknowledged that the whereabouts of those still detained are unknown and warned that their condition could be very serious, leading to “draconian sentences” being handed down. The UN has urged the authorities to respect the rights of due process for the detainees. Many of the number of arrested include high-profile female activists who have fought for progressive reform for women’s rights.

These arrests, as well as reports of intimidating phone calls warning activists to remain silent, are being viewed as a reiteration that only the government has the power to enact change and that protests against the traditional modus operandi will not be tolerated. Although reforms like lifting the driving ban for women is part of Mohammad Bin Salman’s 2030 strategy to modernize Saudi Arabia, these reforms do not justify ongoing violations on human rights activism and minorities, on freedom of speech, freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

 

Pakistan

Three Shia Muslims were injured after being attacked on Eid Day while returning from Eid prayer at Imam Bargah Shah Najaf mosque in the Sukkur district of Sindh Province, Pakistan.

Elsewhere, Rashid Rizvi of Missing Shia Release Committee has rallied families and supporters of missing persons to a protest the arbitrary detention of members of their community in Pakistan. Community members say that the breadwinners of Shia families are being targeted and taken into custody illegally and without charges. Families have accused the state authorities of perpetuating their poverty and suffering by removing vital members of their families and communities with no due process. According to the BBC, the number of “disappeared” Shia persons in Pakistan in the last two years total nearly 150, an accusation the authorities vehemently deny despite clear CCTV footage of several abductions.

 

Afghanistan

Jafar Tavakoli, a Shia cleric in Afghanistan, was assassinated in the night by unknown assailants. Members of the community have staged a sit-in at the governor general’s office to demand a proper investigation into the murder. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the murder. This incident follows the murders of other Shia clerics in years past, namely Sheikh Abdulvahed Saberi and Yuonos Alavi, neither of those cases have been solved.

Lack of stability in the government and the economy creates a breeding ground for the ongoing presence of extremist groups in Afghanistan. The result is that the Shia population has been perpetually targeted for no reason other than their faith. Over the years, both the Taliban and ISIS have launched targeted assaults on Shia dominant villages, particularly the Hazaras, simply because of differences in faith practices.

 

Conclusion

Overall, the first half of 2018 saw 2,805 incidents of anti-Shiism take place in over a dozen countries. Shia Muslims continue to be targeted in their homes, mosques, and communities for no other reason than their faith. They have been victims of bombings, shootings, stabbings, institutional oppression, illegal detention, and inhumane treatment, while the perpetrators of these atrocities remain unpunished. Although a reduction in arrests and sentencings display a lower overall number of incidents of anti-Shiism in June compared to previous months, the number of those wounded or killed because of their faith tripled since May. Shia Rights Watch urges governments and citizens around the world to stand up against religious discrimination at all levels to make our collective voices heard so that no individual, group, or governmental apparatus can get away with violence and oppression. We must actively fight for minority rights and continue to condemn human rights violations wherever they occur.




Incidents of Anti-Shiism in May 2018

At 412 cases of violence against Shia Muslims, anti-Shiism continues to thrive in May. In the nations of Bahrain, Iraq and South Africa in particular, Shia Muslims face violence by their religious identity.  

The month of May coincides with the holy month of Ramadan. Given trends of anti-Shiism in the past five years, Shia Muslims face great danger in the month of Ramadan as extremist organizations find fertile opportunities for targeting mass numbers of Shia individuals.

Incidents of anti-Shiism in May shed light on existing cultural discrimination and ostracization of Shia Muslims in different regions of the world, namely, the nations of Bahrain and South Africa.

 

Bahrain

In May, Taiba Darwish and Zainab Makki were released from detainment. Darwish was released after three years in Bahraini prison on charges of opposition. Makki’s release comes after ten months- her case continues to be processed in the court system.

Despite the recent releases, the ever-prospering cultural and systematic discrimination that thrives in the Kingdom of Bahrain has caused an outcry in the Shia Muslim community. Seven years following the inception of the pro-democracy movement, sources report worsening living conditions for nationals. Both the conditions of activists and the conditions of civilians deteriorate in the wake of increased government anti-Shiism.

Ratification of new laws proves harsh sentencing for crimes only Shia Muslims are accused of. Late in the month, the Bahraini Cabinet approved the change of punishment for possession and use of “flammable containers for threatening…” The punishment was increased to imprisonment for ten years. Shia Rights Watch notes a trend in increased harshness in punishment for charges mainly used against Shia Muslims, charges by which Bahraini officials have no evidence of. 

Another restrictive measure taken in May is the approval of a bill preventing members of opposition groups from participating in elections by the Bahraini parliament. The bill awaits ratification by King Hammad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

Recruitment of foreign workers despite existing Bahraini workforce has not only changed the nation’s demographics, but it has also augmented unemployment rates. Late this month, the Ministry of Health announced employment of 70 medical doctors, a mere 18% of the total number of unemployed doctors reported by the ministry itself. It is important to note that unemployment rates among Shia Muslims are quadruple that among non-Shia Bahraini nationals.

Educated Bahraini elites report a severe lacking in job opportunities for them in the nation despite existing job positions. Some have settled for underpaid work positions while many have left Bahrain.

Changes in Bahraini immigration patterns and foreign worker enlistment serves not to better the Kingdom but to systematically limit the Shia population in the nation.

Shia Rights Watch raises concerns over growing restrictions that limit Shia Muslims from being active members in their homeland. Almost a decade after the strive for increased rights, life in Bahrain has yet to improve. Shia Rights Watch calls for increased international involvement in Bahrain can be found at ShiaRightsWatch.org.

Nigeria

Protests continue in response to the lack of justice for Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, one of Nigeria’s most prominent Shia figures. Shia Muslims in Nigeria gathered meters away from the National Assembly outside the National Secretariat Complex to raise awareness for the arrest of Sheikh Zakzaky and the failing state of Shia in Nigeria. However, contrary to their peaceful demeanor, protestors were met with utmost violence as police forces arrested 60 individuals, injuring 20 others by using excessive force.

Those arrested face harsh conditions of Nigerian detainment centers. They are further met with discrimination, and unjustified limitations in rights as the nation are home to extreme anti-Shia sentiment.

Detainment of Sheikh Zakzaky continues. His arraignment has been adjourned to June 21.

South Africa

On the tenth of May, two individuals attacked Imam Hussain Mosque close to Durban, South Africa with a machete killing the religious leader of the mosque and injuring two others.  Four days later, a bomb was found underneath the religious speaker’s chair. The device was a phone attached to a “capsule via two cables.” The device was neutralized before its detonation. Sources report the attackers spent days surveying the mosque as they posed as a member of the community.

Shia Muslims make up 3% of the South African population. With over 200 non-Shia Muslims religious centers in the area,  the targeting of the only Shia center and the extent of the violence used by the assailants note extreme anti-Shiism.

South African Shia note that anti-Shia sentiment in the area is not new but is exhibited prevalently. Local sources report entities announcing to boycott Shia lead businesses. Postings such as “If you kill a Shia you go straight to heaven” are put on Facebook accounts and aired on local radio talk shows.  

Threats to Imam Hussain Mosque awakened outcry of Shia and non-Shia communities. Amid fears of sectarian violence, non-Shia entities in South Africa took to disown a media posting in circulation that encouraged targeting of Shia Muslims. The post began: “When walking in the street, or in public places, it’s becoming increasingly important to become vigilant as to who may be a Shi’ah, and who may be not. Here are some general guidelines…”

Acknowledgment of anti-Shia posts points to the fact that non-Shia entities in the area were aware of propagation of hatred against the Shia community and yet they did not act to prevent escalation of anti-Shia sentiment into direct violence.

Recent events in South Africa point to a lack of preventative measures for anti-Shiism. Hate-driven sentiment such that of media posting calling for the identification of Shia Muslims creates fertile grounds for direct violence against this community. Given the mass reaction to attacks to Imam Hussain Mosque, Shia Rights Watch notes that anti-Shiism in this region has been recognized by all, yet no action to promote peace has been taken by community leaders.

Shia Rights Watch calls upon local South African leaders to initiate dialogue and peace – management opportunities in their area with aims of eliminating anti-Shiism.

Iraq

May coincided with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Trends of violence in Iraq continue as they have in previous years in that extremist organizations continue to target Shia Muslims. On May 23rd, a bomber detonated his explosive device at the entrance of Saqlawiyah park in Baghdad killing seven and injuring 16 others. The park is famous for post-Iftar (breaking of fast) outings. The analysis shows the placement of the bomb was strategically located in an area densely populated with Shia Muslims.

The explosion was similar to that of May 2017 in which as detonation in Karrada Baghdad, mid-Ramadan, in which 80 were killed.

Terror organizations such as ISIS continue to target Shia individuals

Ahmed Haseeb and Noor Behjat- ISIS Footage

traveling to and from Iraq. Ahmed Haseeb and his nephew Noor Behjat, two Swedish nationals of Iraqi ethnicity were beheaded by ISIS extremists in a video published by the group. The pair were kidnapped on their way to the airport in Baghdad in December while on pilgrimage.

 

In comparison to May 2017, Shia death in Iraq has reduced parallel to the overall violence in the nation. While widespread annihilation of Shia populations by extremist groups such as ISIS has diminished, isolated incidents of violence point to existing anti-Shia sentiment amongst extremist organizations active in the nation.

 

Conclusion

The first five months of 2018 stood witness to 2,573 cases of anti-Shiism. Incidents include death, detention, discrimination, and denial of freedoms systematically or culturally. Anti-Shiism is a conflict at an international scale, affecting both political and grassroots dynamics. Further, the lack of justice for victims of violence have created opportunities for even more targeting of Shia Muslims. Shia Rights Watch calls upon grassroots organizations to work within local communities to battle hate-driven sentiment against all minority groups and invites international efforts to eliminate anti-Shiism worldwide.

 




تقرير منظمة شيعة رايتس ووتش الشهري للانتهاكات الحقوقية بحق المسلمين الشيعة

تقرير منظمة شيعة رايتس ووتش الشهري للانتهاكات الحقوقية بحق المسلمين الشيعة

تصدر منظمة شيعة رايتس ووتش تقريرها الشهري حول أبرز الانتهاكات الحقوقية التي ارتكبت بحق المسلمين الشيعة للفترة الممتدة من 25 نيسان/ ابريل وحتى 25 أيار/ مايو.

ويستعرض التقرير العديد من العمليات الارهابية التي نفذتها الجماعات التكفيرية بحق افراد من المسلمين الشيعة، الى جانب عمليات القمع والتنكيل الممارسة ضدهم من قبل بعض الانظمة والحكومات الاستبدادية.

وتؤكد المنظمة على انها اعتمدت في هذا التقرير على مصادرها الخاصة وبعض والمصادر العامة، كالأفراد والجماعات الناشطة في مجال الحريات وحقوق الانسان المنتشرين في البلدان التي شهدت تلك الانتهاكات.

وتلفت المنظمة انها احجمت عن ذكر بعض الانتهاكات نظرا لغياب الدلائل والقرائن المؤكدة، على الرغم من تيقنها بوقوع تلك الانتهاكات في بعض البلدان.

الدول حسب ترتيب الحروف الابجدية

أفغانستان

6/5 قتلى وجرحى في تفجير مسجد شيعي شرق أفغانستان: أقدمت عناصر إرهابية على تفجير مسجد لأتباع مدرسة أهل البيت عليهم السلام كان يستخدم كمركز لتسجيل المقترعين في الانتخابات البرلمانية، مما افضى الى مقتل 17 عشر مدنيا وجرح العشرات.

إيران

2/5 اعتقال رئيس تحرير صحيفة إصلاحية: اعتقلت السلطات الإيرانية مهدي رحمانیان رئيس تحرير صحيفة مقربة من التيار الإصلاحي في البلاد، بتهمة “الافتراء والإساءة” لسكان أحد الأحياء في محافظة مشهد.

2/5 اعتقال إيرانية تعيش في بريطانيا منذ 10 سنوات خلال زيارتها للبلاد: كشف ناشطون حقوقيون عن اعتقال القوات الأمنية الإيرانية أراس أميري خلال زيارتها الأخيرة للبلاد، وهي سيدة إيرانية كانت تعيش في بريطانيا على مدى 10 سنوات.

10/5 اعتقال 11 معلمًا شاركوا في احتجاجات: اعتقلت السلطات الأمنية الإيرانية 11 ناشطًا في نقابة المعلمين؛ بسبب تنظيمهم احتجاجات وسط العاصمة طهران، أمام وزارة التربية والتعليم، للمطالبة بحقوق المعلمين، خصوصًا شريحة المتقاعدين منهم.

باكستان

28/4 قتل اثنين من الشيعة الهزارة جنوب غرب البلاد: قتلشخصين ينتميان لنفس العائلة من عرق الهزارة بالرصاص في هجوم طائفي في منطقة مزدحمة للتسوق في كويتا عاصمة بلوخستان جنوب غرب باكستان.

30/4 مقتل 4 أشخاص وإصابة 2 آخرين باعتداء في كويتا: قتل 4 أشخاص وأصيب اثنان آخران إثر قيام مسلحين مجهولين برش الرصاص على 5 متاجر في مدينة كويتا جنوب غربي باكستان.

4/5 مقتل 6 عمال شيعة في هجوم مسلح غربي باكستان: قتل 6 عمال بناء من الهزارة بالقرب من مدينة كويتا الباكستانية إثر إطلاق مسلحين مجهولين النار عليهم.

البحرين

27/4 منع إقامة الصلاة الموحدة للشيعة للأسبوع الـ94على التوالي: واصلت عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنيّة المدجّجة بالسلاح والآليّات العسكريّة وللأسبوع الـ94 على التوالي محاصرة مداخل بلدة الدراز، حيث منعت المواطنين وإمام الصلاة من التوجّه إلى مسجد الإمام الصادقعليه السلام  لأداء شعائر صلاة الجمعة.

30/4 أحكام بالمؤبد واحكام بالسجن 15 عاماً وإسقاط الجنسية: أصدرت ما تسمى المحكمة الكبرى الجنائية الرابعة حكماً بالسجن المؤبد والسجن 15 عاماً وإسقاط الجنسية عن مواطنين اثنين بتهم ذات دوافع سياسية، ليرتفع عدد المسحوبة جنسياتهم إلى 604 بحريني.

وقضت المحكمة بالسجن المؤبد وغرامة 200 الف دينار على المواطن الأول، وبالسجن 15 سنة وغرامة 100 الف دينار على آخر، وأمرت بإسقاط الجنسية عنهما.

1/5 اعتقال 3 مواطنين لإكمال محكوميتهم في قضية إقامة الشعائر الدينية: اعتقلت عناصر الميلشيات المدنية 3 مواطنين لتنفيذ المحكوميات بحقهم في قضية (تركيب السواد في عاشوراء)، والتي اصدرتها المحاكم البحرينية بحقهم بسجنهم لمدة عام من قبل المحاكم البحرينية.

1/5 اعتقال طفل في مداهمة ليلية: قامت قوات الأمنية باعتقال الطفل سعيد خليل في مداهمة منزل ذويه ليلا، قبل ان ينقل الى جهة مجهولة.

4/5 منع إقامة الصلاة الموحدة للشيعة للأسبوع الـ95 على التوالي: واصلت عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنيّة المدجّجة بالسلاح والآليّات العسكريّة محاصرة مداخل بلدة الدراز وقامت بمنع المواطنين وإمام الصلاة يوم الجمعة من التوجّه إلى مسجد الإمام الصادق (ع) لأداء شعائر صلاة الجمعة.

4/5 اعتقال الشاب من مطار البحرين عقب عودته من الهند: اعتقلت السلطات الأمنية البحرينية الشاب يونس جاسم العويناتي من مطار البحرين الدولي، وذلك أثناء عودته من الهند بعد انهاء فترة الدراسة، وسبق أن اعتقلالشاب يونس العويناتي يوم الأحد 19 أكتوبر/ تشرين الأول 2014، قبل ان يتم إطلاق سراحه لاحقا.

8/5 مداهمات لعدد من منازل بلدة صدد والمصلى وكرزكان وعالي والجفير: أفاد نشطاء حقوقيون أن عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنية داهمت عدد من منازل المواطنين ببلدة صدد، واعتقلت أحد المواطنين.

كما قامت مجاميع من المرتزقة بحملة مداهمات طالت عدداً من المناطق بينها المصلى وكرزكان وعالي والجفير والتي أسفرت عن اعتقال محمد أحمد العكري، وأنباء عن قيام القوات الأمنية بالاعتداء على والدة وأخت المعتقل بالضرب.

9/5 إدارة سجن جو تمنع معتقل من تلقي العلاج: أكدت مصادر حقوقية عن منع سلطات سجن جو سيء الصيت المعتقل الدكتور عبد الجليل السنكيس من تلقي علاجه مما افضى الى تدهور حالته الصحية، فيما ترفض إدارة السجن نقله إلى الطبيب الاخصائي.

10/5 حكم بالسّجن 3 أشهر على الشيخ علي رحّمة: اصدرت محاكم بحرينية حكمًا على رجل الدين الشيخ علي رحّمة بالسجن 3 أشّهر عن تهّمة التجمهّر أمام منزل العالم الشيعي الشيخ عيسى قاسم، مع كفِّالة وقف تنفيذ قدرتها المحكمة بـ 500 دينار.

11/5 منع إقامة الصلاة الموحدة للشيعة للأسبوع الـ96على التوالي: واصلت عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنيّة المدجّجة بالسلاح والآليّات العسكريّة، محاصرة مداخل بلدة الدراز، وقامت بمنع المواطنين وإمام الصلاة من التوجّه إلى مسجد الإمام الصادق (ع) لأداء شعائر صلاة الجمعة.

13/5 حملّة مداهمات تسّفر عن اعتقال 4 مواطنين في سترة: شنّت عناصر المرتزقة والميلشيات المدنية حملة مداهمات على عدد من مناطق في البحرين وأسّفرت عن اعتقال 4 حالات من جزيرة سترة، مصادر حقوقية أّشارت إلى أن المعتقلين هم حسين علي صالح، وحسين فؤاد الحني، وحسين محمد فؤاد، ومحمد على إبراهيم.

15/5 إسقاط جنسية 115 مواطنًا وأحكام بالمؤبد لـ 53 وعقوبات متفاوتة لـ 62 آخرين: أصدرت ما تسمى المحكمة الكبرى الجنائية الرابعة أحكامًا بإسقاط الجنسية عن 115 مواطنًا بعد أدانتهم في قضية تشكيل تنظيم إرهابي، فيما يسمى بـ«كتائب ذوالفقار».

كما قضت المحكمة بالسجن المؤبد على 53 مواطنًا وبالسجن 15 سنة على ثلاثة أخرين وبالسجن 10 سنوات على متهم وبالسجن 7 سنوات على 15 مواطنًا وبالسجن 5 سنوات على37، وكذلك بالسجن 3 سنوات على 6 متهمين وبرأت المحكمة 23 مواطنًا، وأمرت بإسقاط الجنسية عن 115 مدانًا في القضية.

15/5 اعتقال أحد عشر شابا في مداهمات لعدد من المناطق: اسفرت حملة مداهمات شنتها عناصر من المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنية على عدد من مناطق البحرين عن اعتقال أكثر من 11 مواطنا.

17/5 السلطات الأمنية تعتقل امرأتين من بلدة النويدرات: أفادت مصادر حقوقية بأن السلطات الأمنية البحرينية اعتقلت امرأتين من بلدة النويدرات في حملة مداهمات في أول أيام شهر رمضان.

وذكر نشطاء إن المواطنتين المعتقلتين هما: «زكية البربروري 28عاماً، وفاطمة داوود حسن 19عامًا».

17/5 اعتقال مواطنين خلال حملة مداهمات واسعة: شنَّت ميليشيات مدنية برفقة القوى الأمنية حملة مداهمات واسعة وأسفرت عن اعتقال الشاب علي فخر من منطقة الديه.

18/5 منع إقامة الصلاة الموحدة للشيعة للأسبوع الـ97على التوالي: واصلت عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنيّة المدجّجة بالسلاح والآليّات العسكريّة، محاصرة مداخل بلدة الدراز، وقامت بمنع المواطنين وإمام الصلاة من التوجّه إلى مسجد الإمام الصادق (ع) لأداء شعائر صلاة الجمعة.

18/5 اعتقال شقيقين في ثاني أيام شهر رمضان: قامت العناصر الأمنية ثاني ايام رمضان المبارك باعتقال الشقيقين حسن وحسين البرباري، بعد مداهمة منزلهما في مدينة حمد.

21/5 سجن 9 مواطنين 15 عامًا وإسقاط الجنسية عنهم:أصدرت إحدى محاكم السلطة أحكامًا بسجن 9 مواطنين لمدة تصل إلى 15 عامًا بتهم ذات دوافع سياسية، وإسقاط الجنسية البحرينية عنهم، بتهمة تشكيل خلية إرهابية، وهي تُهمٍ مكررة توجِّهُها للنشطاء والمعارضين بدوافع سياسية انتقامية.

24/5 اعتقال 3 شبان خلال حملة مداهمات غير قانونية على منطقة الدير: شنَّت السلطات الأمنية حملة مداهمات واسعة وغير قانونية على منطقة الدير وأسفرت عن اعتقال ثلاثة شبان، وهم الشاب علي عبد الهادي مهدي «16 عامًا»، والشاب علي أحمد يوسف «18 عامًا»، والشاب عباس جعفر أحمد.

25/5 منع إقامة الصلاة الموحدة للشيعة للأسبوع الـ98على التوالي: واصلت عناصر المرتزقة والميليشيات المدنيّة المدجّجة بالسلاح والآليّات العسكريّة، محاصرة مداخل بلدة الدراز، وقامت بمنع المواطنين وإمام الصلاة من التوجّه إلى مسجد الإمام الصادق (ع) لأداء شعائر صلاة الجمعة.

جنوب افريقيا

12/5 مقتل وجرح اثنين في هجوم إرهابي على مسجد للشيعة: قتل إمام مسجد وأصيب شخصان آخران بجروح خطرة في هجوم بالسكاكين على مسجد الإمام الحسين (عليه السلام) للجالیة الشیعیة في ضواحي مدينة دوربانفي شمال شرق دولة جنوب أفريقيا.

وبحسب أجهزة الطوارئ فإن 3 أشخاص دخلوا بعد صلاة الظهر مسجد مدينة فيرولام وهجموا على المصلين والحارس، وأوضح المتحدث باسم هذه الأجهزة بول هربست أن المهاجمين شدوا وثاق الإمام وطرحوه أرضاً وشجوا رقبته وسريعاً ما توفي متأثراً بجروحه، وتعرض الآخران للطعن وقبل أن يفروا رمى المهاجمون زجاجات حارقة في المسجد الذي تعرض للحرق جزئياً.

سوريا

5/5 جريح بنيران القناصة في بلدة الفوعة المحاصرة: أصيب الشاب يوسف أحمد جردة من الفوعة المحاصرة بريف إدلب الشمالي بطلقة قناص بالرجل نتيجة أعمال القنص المتكررة من ناحية بنش المجاورة.

11/5 هجوم بالقذائف واسلحة القنص على سكان بلدتي كفريا والفوعة المحاصرتين: أفادت مصادر ميدانية عن تعرض بلدتي كفريا والفوعة الى هجوم من قبل الجماعات التكفيرية التي تحاصر البلدتين منذ سنوات.

15/5 مقتل شاب في عملية قنص داخل بلدة كفريا: قتل الشاب حسين علي غزالة (٢١سنة) في بلدتي ​الفوعة وكفريا​ المحاصرتين في ريف ادلب الشمالي مُتأثراً بجراحهِ جراء إصابة تعرض لها يوم أمس بعدد من الطلقات النارية من ناحية ​بروما​ المجاورة.

19/5 جريح بعملية قنص في بلدة الفوعة: أصيب الشاب أحمد قرباش من اهالي بلدتي الفوعة وكفريا المحاصرتين في ريف ادلب الشمالي جراء في هجوم إرهابي شنته الجماعات التكفيرية من جهة بلدة بنش المجاورة.

السعودية

26/4 اعتقال فتاة من بلدة صفوى بسبب تغريده: قامت أجهزة امنية باعتقال الشابة (نور المسلم 19 سنة من بلدة صفوى التابعة لمحافظة القطيف، وذلك على خلفية اتهامها بإطلاق تغريده على موقع تواصل اجتماعي.

28/4 السلطات السعودية تغلق حسينية كريم أهل البيت بتاروت: عمدت أجهزة الأمن السعودية إلى إغلاق حسينية كريم أهل البيت بتاروت، في سياق التضييق الذي تمارسه السلطات السعودية حيال المواطنين الشيعة في المنطقة الشرقية.

1/5 اعتقال شاب لدى عودته من البحرين: قامت سلطات الامن السعودي المتواجدة على جسر البحرين الرابط ما بين الحدود السعودية والبحرينية باعتقال الشاب (حسين علي عوكار) بدون اسباب تذكر.

7/5 السلطات السعودية تعتقل الشاب مصطفى البناوي: قامت القوات الأمنية المتواجدة على جسر البحرين الرابط ما بين السعودية والبحرين باعتقال الشاب (مصطفى البناوي)، ومن ثم اقتادته الى سجن المباحث على طريق الرياض.

8/5 قوات امنية تقتحم بلدات في القطيف وتعتقل بعض السكان: شنت قوات امنية حملة مداهمات لعدة بلدات في محافظة القطيف البحاري، القديح، أم الحمام، حلة محيش، الخويلدية.

وأفادت مصادر ميدانية ان في بلدة البحاري قامت بعض القوات الأمنية بمداهمة منزل الشهيد (صادق درويش) ومنزل أقاربه، وقامت القوات بالعبث بممتلكات المنزل وتكسيرها، وترويع النساء، واعتقال اثنين من أفراد العائلة ونقلتهما الى جهة مجهولة.

10/5 السلطات السعودية تحاصر بعض البلدات في القطيف: قامت قوات الامن التابعة للنظام السعودي بمحاصرة عدد من البلدات في محافظة القطيف، حيث شوهدت العديد من المدرعات والعربات المصفحة منتشرة بشكل واسع في محيط مزارع الرامس بكاملها ومخطط الزهراء (الناصرة) وأحياء شمال، وعمدت تلك القوات بتخريب عدد من المزارع في منطقة الرامس، كما حاصرت تلك القوات أحياء شمال وحي المراوح في محيط دوار الكرامة الى شمال بلدة العوامية.

16/5 قوات امنية تداهم منزلين في بلدة أم الحمام: داهمت قوات عسكرية بلدة أم الحمام لتقتحم منزل المواطن الرضوان ومنزل المواطن الحرز، وقامت القوات بالعبث بممتلكات المنزلين وتكسيرها وترويع النساء دون ذكر الاسباب.

20/5 اعتقال المنشد الحسيني جعفر احمد ال سعيد: قامت قوة أمنية تابعة لوزارة داخلية باعتقال المنشدالحسيني (جعفر احمد ال سعيد)، وذلك بعد ان قامت القوة بمداهمة منزله.

العراق

28/4 اصابة مدني بانفجار عبوة لاصقة جنوبي بغداد: أفضى انفجار عبوة لاصقة كانت مثبتة أسفل عجلة مدنية اثناء مرورها بمنطقة عرب جبور جنوبي بغداد الى اصابة سائقها بجروح.

29/4 اصابة شخص بانفجار عبوة لاصقة شمالي بغداد: أسفر تفجير عبوة لاصقة كانت مثبتة أسفل عجلة مدنية اثناء مرورها بمنطقة بوب الشام عن اصابة صاحب العجلة بجروح مختلفة.

30/4 اصابة ثلاثة اشخاص بتفجير شمالي بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة وضعها ارهابيون على جانب الطريق في الحي الصناعي بقضاء التاجي شمالي بغداد عناصابة ثلاثة اشخاص صادف مرورهم لحظة التفجير.

5/5 مقتل شخص بانفجار عبوة لاصقة غربي بغداد: افضى تفجير عبوة لاصقة كانت مثبتة أسفل عجلة اثناء مرورها بمنطقة الزيدان الى مقتل صاحب العجلة في الحال.

5/5 اصابة ثلاثة مدنيين بانفجار عبوة ناسفة جنوبي بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة وضعها ارهابيون على بالقرب من سوق شعبي بمنطقة باوي التابعة لقضاء المدائن عن اصابة ثلاثة مدنيين بجروح مختلفة.

6/5 مقتل مدني وإصابة آخر بانفجار جنوب بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة بالقرب من محال تجارية بمنطقة الرضوانية جنوب بغداد عن مقتل مدني وإصابة آخر بجروح مختلفة.

6/5 مقتل تلميذين بتفجير قرب مدرسة غرب الناصرية: افضى انفجار عبوة ناسفة انفجرت قرب مدرسة “ذات العلم” الابتدائية غرب مدينة الناصرية عن مقتل تلميذين.

7/5 مقتل مدني بهجوم مسلح جنوبي بغداد: قام مسلحون مجهولون بفتح نيران اسلحتهم الكاتمة باتجاه مدني بالقرب من منزله بمنطقة الوردية التابعة للمدائن ما أسفر عن مقتله في الحال.

9/5 ضبط سيارة مفخخة شمالي العاصمة: تمكنت قوات امنية من ضبط عجلة مفخخة نوع (كورلا) شمال بغداد كانت الجماعات الإرهابية تروم تفجيرها على المسافرين.

11/5 احباط هجوم إرهابي على مزار شيعي في سامراء: تمكنت قوات امنية من احباط محاولة استهداف زوار مرقد السيد محمد (عليه السلام) قرب سامراء بعد ان قتلت ستة انتحاريين حاولوا اقتحام منطقة المزار.

12/5 إصابة مدني بانفجار ناسفة جنوبي كركوك: أسفر انفجر عبوة ناسفة زرعها ارهابيون على جانب الطريق قرب قرية زنقر بقضاء داقوق عن إصابة مدني بجروح.

17/5 إصابة مدني بانفجار عبوة ناسفة جنوب شرقي بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة كانت موضوعة بالقرب من محال تجارية في قضاء المدائن، جنوب شرقي بغداد عن اصابة مدني بجروح مختلفة.

18/5 اصابة مدنيين اثنين بانفجار رمانة يدوية شمالي بغداد: قام ارهابيان برمي رمانة يدوية على عدد من المحال التجارية بالقرب من فلكة ٨٣ ضمن منطقة الطالبية شمالي بغداد، ما اسفر عن اصابة مدنيين اثنين صادف مرورهم لحظة وقوع الحادث.

18/5 مقتل شاب واصابة والده بانفجار شرقي ديالى: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة كانت موضوعة في طريق زراعي في أطراف خانقين عن مقتل شاب واصابة والده بجروح حرجة.

18/5 إصابة ثلاثة مدنيين بانفجار عبوة جنوبي بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة وضعها ارهابيون قرب محال تجارية بمنطقة هور رجب التابعة للدورة، (جنوبي بغداد) ما أسفرعن اصابة ثلاثة مدنيين بجروح مختلفة.

18/5 مقتل مدني بتفجير جنوب غربي كركوك: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة موضوعة على جانب طريق قرب قرية زنقر بقضاء داقوق عن مقتل سائق سيارة.

20/5 اصابة مدير ناحية بغداد الجديدة: قام مسلحون مجهولون بفتح نيران اسلحتهم الكاتمة تجاه مدير ناحية بغداد الجديدة علي مهدي، اثناء خروجه من منزله ما اسفرعن اصابته بجروح خطيرة.

20/5 إصابة ثلاثة مدنيين بانفجار ناسفة قرب سوق شعبية جنوب بغداد: افضى انفجار عبوة ناسفة موضوعة بالقرب من سوق شعبية في منطقة السيد عبد الله التابعة لناحية اليوسفية الى إصابة ثلاثة مدنيين.

21/5 مقتل مدني بانفجار عبوة لاصقة شمال بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة لاصقة مثبتة أسفل عجلة مدنية انفجرت أثناء مرور العجلة بناحية المشاهدة التابعة لقضاء الطارميةعن مقتل صاحب العجلة.

21/5 مقتل مدني بهجوم مسلح شرقي بغداد: أطلق مسلحون مجهولون يستقلون سيارة حديثة النار مناسلحتهم الكاتمة للصوت باتجاه مدني في منطقة الرشاد،شرقي بغداد، ما أسفر عن مقتله على الفور، فيما لاذالمسلحون بالفرار.

23/5 اصابة ثلاثة اشخاص بتفجير غربي بغداد: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة كانت موضوعة على جانب الطريق فيمنطقة النصر والسلام التابعة لقضاء ابو غريب غربيبغداد عن اصابة ثلاثة اشخاص صادف مرورهم لحظةالتفجير.

24/5 مقتل واصابة سبعة مدنيين في هجوم داعش على قرية: أسفر هجوم شنه تنظيم داعش الإرهابي على قريةأم الحنطة في أطراف ناحية جلولاء (70 كم شمال شرقبعقوبة) عن مقتل ثلاثة مدنيين وإصابة أربعة آخرين.

24/5 مقتل وجرح 19 في تفجير انتحاري غرب بغداد: أفضى تفجير انتحاري بواسطة حزام ناسف استهدفسكان منطقة الشعلة ببغداد الى أربعة مدنيين وجرح 15 آخرين.

25/5 مقتل مدني بهجوم بأسلحة كاتمة شرقي بغداد: أطلق مسلحون مجهولون النار من اسلحة كاتمة للصوتتجاه مدني في منطقة الكمالية، شرقي بغداد عن مقتلهفي الحال.

25/5 مقتل راعي اغنام بإنفجار عبوة ناسفة شماليكركوك: أسفر انفجار عبوة ناسفة في قرية يارمجة التابعةلناحية التون كوبري (٢٥ كم شمال كركوك) عن مقتل راعياغنام.




Pakistan’s First Steps Against Anti-Shiism

“If the government cannot ensure security for the Shia Muslims then it must devise mechanisms to ensure their survival,” stated Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan on May 2, 2018. The statement came after the submission of a report detailing the death of 399 Hazara Shia in Baluchistan since 2011.

The Hazara ethnic group is mostly Shia Muslim originating from Hazarajat, Afghanistan. Post-1880’s, Hazara Shia fled their land in fear of persecution by King Abdurrahman who during his reign enslaved and killed thousands of Shia Muslims. Many took refuge in Baluchistan.  However, contrary to their expectations, the Hazara faced discrimination. They were, and continue to be targets of violence by extremist groups.

In the hearing, the Hazara community was represented by Iftikhar Ali. Ali expressed the lack of safety Shia Hazara face and the hardships which forced their population to flee their homes once again.

Justice Nasir ordered a systematic review of the government entities under his rule to “submit a report detailing the issue,” He continued, “We are responsible for ensuring the safety of life and property of the Hazara community.”

Shia Rights Watch honors Justice Nisar for his recognition of the detriments Shia Hazara face and the initiative he has taken to create stop violence against this community.

In the past, anti-Shiism in Pakistan has gone unnoticed. Victims of violence were robbed of their peace of mind, and they continued life knowing perpetrators of anti-Shiism wonder their neighborhoods. Justice Nisar’s efforts are an initiation to retribution for Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

Shia Rights Watch thanks the Justice and all those who stand by his side for taking long overdue steps towards justice.




Cultural to Direct Violence: Opportunities for Prevention Ignored

For decades, Shia Muslims have lived under fear of identification by their religion. Ethnically distinct groups such as the Hazara, who are physically distinguishable and recognized as Shia Muslims have seen a 58% reduction in their population since the 18th century. Other groups such that of the Shia living in Saudi Arabia take to blend into their larger anti-Shia society in fear of discrimination. Thus, having a public Shia identity can be troublesome for many Shia Muslims.

Recently, the light was shed on the existence of a media post that incited discrimination against Shia Muslims. The post calls for the identification of Shia Muslims, and their social and physical tendencies (such as “how Shia women wear their scarf” and the length of a Shia man’s beard). The post begins, “When walking in the
street, or in public places, it’s becoming increasingly important to become
Vigilant as to who may be a Shi’ah, and who may be not. Here are some general
guidelines…”

The existence of the post was brought to light by the recent attack on May 10th when three men armed with machetes attacked the Imam Hussain Mosque in Durban, South Africa. The religious
the leader was killed, and mosque attendees were injured. Targeting of
the mosque continued into the following week when a bomb was found strapped
Under the Imam’s chair. The weapon was neutralized before taking any lives.

Recognizing the targeted means of the attack, non-Shia entities in the area stumbled to dissociate themselves from violent acts of anti-Shiism. They took to claim a lack of involvement to an anti-Shia post circulating in social media and chat-platforms.

Some sources in South Africa state the post has been circulating since January 2018 yet no one had taken steps to stop its circulation. It’s condemnation only occurred after violence erupted.

It must be noted that cultural violence in the form of discrimination and social injustice is the basis for violence which continues to lead to the loss of Shia lives.

The reality is that this post is not the first of its kind. The recent attacks on Imam Hussein Mosque in Durban South Africa shed light on the systematic cultural violence Shia Muslims face. Not only do Shia Muslims have to bear anti-Islam bigotry, but they are also victims of anti-Shia violence.

The spotlight newly held on anti-Shia propaganda in private non-Shia groups, virtual or in physical presence, calls for increased awareness for humanitarian activists. It acts as a reminder that a lack of direct violence is not a sign of peace. Anti-Shia rhetoric plagues non-Shia communities in and out of the Middle East, and until platforms that fuel discrimination are recognized and brought to justice, anti-Shiism will continue to prosper and will escalate to targeting and killing of Shia Muslim communities.

 




Bahrain: 7 Years Later

Over seven years have passed from the first Bahraini cries for reform. Like any other attempt at a revolution, reflection becomes easier as time passes. Bahraini advocates and active members of the revolution are now beginning to evaluate the crisis at hand.

Blossoming of the Arab Spring in Bahrain began as a call for democracy by Bahraini’s from all walks of life. People gathered around Pearl Roundabout and demanded increased rights from their monarch. The Shia majority demographic of Bahrain would naturally allow for more Shia revolutionaries, but the reform seeking demands were not a Shia versus the State- everyone sought to change.

However, as the government crackdown on protests increased and violence erupted, Shia Muslims stood stoutly while their non-Shia Bahraini peers succumbed to pressure. And now, seven years later, Shia Muslims have been the most affected.  Arrests of under-aged minors, women, and children augmented anti-monarchy, and thus more protests were held. Anti-reform violence and civil demonstrations positively reinforced each other; each one step bigger than the other.

Now, Bahrain is no longer what it used to be. Massive recruitment of foreign workers from India, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen along with profound de-nationalization and emigration of Bahraini nationals have changed the national demographics. Public institutions are operated by Shia Bahraini’s, a proportion far less than that in Bahrain pre-Arab Spring.

Unemployment rates are the highest in Shia communities. Hundreds of educated Bahrainis are either jobless or forced to fill underpaid jobs they are overqualified for. The average retiree age in the monarch is 30 as many choose to live with primary retirement funds than life with no income.

Moreover, many Bahraini’s are choosing to move out of Bahrain. Some leave because they are no longer considered Bahraini nationals due to citizenship revocation. Others go because the can no longer bear the glass ceiling supported by increased hatred and discrimination against for individuals of the Shia faith.

Almost a decade after the strive for increased rights, life in Bahrain has yet to improve. Looking back, it is now more than ever essential to remember the lives lost as a result of government-sponsored violence and to renew faith in those living undetermined terms in detainment. Humanitarian organizations must come together to work at grassroots, national, and international levels to ease hardships faced by Bahraini Shia. Most importantly, however, the global Shia community must stand together in empowerment.




Incidents of Anti-Shiism in April, 2018

 

With 673 incidents of anti-Shiism during the month of April, Shia repression is on the rise. The reduction in February and March from January’s equivalent 673 incidents was too good to be true, as this month concluded with 128 deaths, 180 injuries, 236 arrests, 114 sentencing, and 18 other anti-Shia actions such as denial of healthcare, as well as violent and legal attacks on basic human freedoms and rights. The amount of Shia civilians killed this month around the world increased by 100% from what we’ve previously seen in recent months, jumping from an average of 60 deaths per month to 123, and showing a new wave of violence and aggression directed at Shia Muslims. With violence at a recent high, open discussions about minority rights are more important than ever.

Afghanistan

The mayhem in Afghanistan continued to increase this month with continual attacks on the Shia population carried out by extremist groups in the region. The Hazara Shia community in Afghanistan is regularly a target of terrorist groups, leading to 77 deaths and 132 injuries this month.

The assaults this month began on April 9th, with the detonation of an IED which was attached to a motorcycle in Herat province. The blast killed eight people immediately, four of which were children, and wounded nine other minors.   

In the 48 hours between April 17th and 18th, six Shia Muslims were killed and four others were wounded in two separate attacks on vehicles. The first incident took place as four Shia Muslims were traveling near Faroz Koh. All passengers were injured, but no casualties were reported. The second attack came as six Shia civilians were traveling from Herat to Ghor. Their car came under attack by extremists, and all six of the passengers were killed.

The end of the month brought a mass killing of Hazara Shia in Kabul, as the civilians were attempting to register to vote in the upcoming October elections. According to reports, a Daesh-affiliated suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the doorway of the voter registration center, killing 57 Shia Muslims and injuring 119. Of those killed were 21 women and five children. On the same day, six other Shia civilians from the same family were killed in their vehicle by a roadside bomb in Baghlan’s Pul-e-Khumri city near another voting facility.

The ruthless attacks against innocent Shia civilians, with merciless disregard for age or gender, shows the animosity of the extremist ideologies which lead people to target the Shia Muslim populations around the world. The decreased presence of extremist groups such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria has resulted in a migration of these militants to Afghanistan, where their anti-Shia motives are wreaking havoc on the Shia population.

Nigeria

Nigerian Shia continues to face a backlash from their government and punishment for peacefully protesting the detainment of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, Nigeria’s most prominent Shia scholar, who has been detained without charges since December 2015. Protests calling for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky spread from Nigeria to Turkey, Indonesia, and Pakistan this month, expressing the importance of the cleric to the Shia population internationally.

The continuation of Nigerian Shia population’s “Free Sheikh Zakzaky” protests were met with extreme police force this month, as law enforcement clashed with protesters for three consecutive days during the middle of the month. Police used tear gas and gunfire in an attempt to disperse protesters from the congregation. The brutality resulted in three deaths, two injuries, and 230 arrests, and came a week after the daughter of Sheikh Zakzaky declared that Nigerian officials were continuing to deny her father necessary medical treatment for his deteriorating glaucoma. Police have continually attempted to stop Nigeria’s Shia population from protesting the arbitrary detainment of their religious movement’s leader. Forces occupied the Unity Fountain early in the month to prevent protests from taking place. The resilience of the Shia population in Nigeria to continue advocating for their own justice did not allow for the police occupation to defeat them, and instead, they moved their peaceful protest to the entrance of the National assembly.

A week later, just after the funeral of the one man, Ahmad Rufai Abubakar, who had been shot and killed in the clashes at the protests, the funeral party staged a protest in front of the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja. During the protests against the human rights violations of the Nigerian police, the police forces opened fire once again on the crowd, taking the lives of two more Nigerian Shia, and injuring an unknown number of people.

Nigerian officials continually attempt to suppress the Shia Islamic movement in Nigeria by trying to silence to protests which stand up against injustice. The Shia population continues to fight for their freedoms and has shown unwavering determination to secure fair treatment for its population. Meeting police force with peaceful demonstrations sets an example for all Shia Muslims in how to overcome government repression.

Bahrain

 

Bahrain experienced a 53% decrease on individual attacks this month, dropping from 238 in March, to 133 in April. This decrease, however, is only superficial, and the attacks on the Shia population in Bahrain this month revealed themselves in different forms. This month, Bahrain saw two injuries, four arrests, 114 sentencing, and 13 other anti-Shia actions such as denial of medical treatment, unwarranted house raids, and the passing of a bill that is intended to prevent Shia Muslims from participating in elections.

The month began with an eight-day siege of the Shia village of Ma’Amir by security forces. The forces placed cement barriers and checkpoints around the village and searched every person who entered and exited the village. It is not known what the purpose of this siege was, but it is common practice for Bahraini officials to place Shia villages under occupation in an attempt to restrict movement of the majority population. Most notable was the nearly year-long seizure of Diraz, the home of Bahrain’s prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim.

The government’s unwarranted routine invasions did not end at the Ma’Amir village though, as the homes of Maytham Mohammed, Sayed Qassim Sayed Khalil, Sayed Mahmoud Sayed Adel, and Hassan al-Bahrani, four Bahraini youth who were killed at sea in February, were raided and intrusive searches were conducted without any given reason.

Bahrain continued its practice of arbitrary arrests with the detainment of Ahmad Abd Al-Ali Al-Aali, from the town of Aali on April 13th. Al-Aali was taken to an undisclosed location, and the reason for his arrest is unknown. Similarly, Mohammad Al-Karani from Karana village was arrested for unknown reasons and transported to an undisclosed location this month. Just days before Al-Karani’s arrest, massive peaceful protests broke out leading up to the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama, and Shia civilians were met with tear gas and water cannons administered by security personnel.

A Shia eulogy reade, Haj Hassan Khamis Al-Nuami was arrested at the end of the month for participating in the celebrations of Imam Hussein’s birthday, and for singing a popular Shia song with lyrics that say “I have become sick of sitting in Bahrain, O’ mother…Bring my passport so I could travel to Karbala to visit Al-Hussain”.  He is currently being detained while an investigation takes place. Given Bahrain’s pattern of criminalizing innocent Shia on fabricated charges of terrorism, it is likely that Al-Nuami will face trial for the incident.

The final arrest for the month came at the expense of Mansour Hussein, a Bahraini Shia youth who was arrested in a string of home raids carried out by Bahraini security forces. The reason for his arrest is unknown, in line with Bahrain’s practice of arbitrary arrests. He was forcibly removed from the village of Buri on April 27th, and transported to an unknown location.

Bahrain saw 114 civilians sentenced to prison this month, 26 of which were also stripped of their Bahraini citizenships. The first sentencings were on the charges of “illegal assembly”, in which two Shia were sentenced to one year in prison, and four others were sentenced to two years. This case exemplifies Bahrain’s crackdown on its Shia population’s basic human rights, such as the right to peaceful assembly, and shows the desire and preference of Bahraini authorities to repress its Shia population and to put them behind bars.

This month, 18 more Shia civilians were referred to trial two days later, on false allegations of forming a terrorist group. The claim made by the Bahraini authorities is entirely unfounded, as several of those accused in the formation of the group are already serving time in prison for other fabricated charges, and therefore could not take part in the formation of a group outside of the strict prison walls. Referring these 18 Shia civilians to trial furthers the reality that Bahraini authorities want to put and keep, as many Shia Muslims in prison as possible, to suppress their desire for political justice and instill fear in those who speak out about the Regime’s human rights violations.

Further falsified allegations of terrorism led to the sentencing of four Bahraini Shia, three of which received five years in prison, and one of which received three years on April 17th.

In the 48 hours between April 19th and April 20th, 66 Shia Muslims in Bahrain were sentenced to prison by the Fourth High Criminal Court, and 26 were stripped of their nationalities in four separate cases. In the first case, 32 people were charged with fabricated allegations of terrorism. Of the 32, 25 were handed down seven-year prison sentences, and the remaining seven were sentenced to three years each. The second case came on related charges and resulted in three Shia citizens being sentenced to life in prison, and two of the three being revoked of their citizenships. This revocation pushed the number of Shia in Bahrain who has had their citizenship stripped by the government since 2011 to reach over 600, shedding light on the brutal government crackdown against the majority Shia population.

The third case resulted in the sentencing of 10 Shia to life imprisonment, 10 others to 10 years in prison, three defendants to five years’ imprisonment, and a final person to three years. All 24 of the defendants had their citizenships stripped as part of the ruling. The charges brought this group of 24 Shia civilians were allegedly ‘forming a terrorist group’, and affiliating with Iraq and Iran, a pattern that holds true to the majority of sentencings against Shia in Bahrain, which routinely uses false allegations of terrorism as an excuse to repress.

Lastly, seven Shia youths were sentenced to two years in prison each, on allegations similar to the 59 sentenced before them.

The Military Court of Cassation also upheld the death sentence of seven men, Adel Mubarak Muhanna, Fadel Sayyed Abbas Hassan Radhi, Sayyed Alawi Hussein Alawi Hussain, Mohamed Abdulhassen Ahmed al-Matghawi, Mohammed Abdul Hussain Saleh al-Shihabi, Mohammed Abdul Wahid Mohammed Al-Najjar and Hussein Mohammed Ahmed Shihab, on April 25th for an alleged act of terrorism.

In a string of trials held between April 28th and 29th, 13 Shia Muslims were sentenced to prison in four separate cases. As an outcome of the first of these trials, the 15-year prison sentences against 5 Bahraini Shia, arbitrarily arrested and accused of committing a crime, were upheld by the partisan court system.

The second trial sentenced a single defendant in absentia to five years in prison on allegations of a terrorist crime. The reasons for the defendant’s absence is unknown, however, the sentence de-legitimizes the Bahraini criminal court, as sentencing a citizen to prison without allowing for him/her to defend him/herself is an unjust practice and shows that the court is not concerned about bringing justice, but rather oppressing its Shia population.

The third sentencing in the two-day crackdown resulted in the imprisonment of four Shia citizens for two years each on similar accusations to the rest of April’s sentencing.

The final sentencing for the month of April came as three defendants were handed down three-year prison sentences for accusations of affiliating themselves with the court-dissolved Al-Wafaa Shia political party. The sentences come as another effort by the Bahraini government to silence those who speak out in favor of justice and against human rights offenses, calling for government reform.

Bahrain’s efforts to scare the Shia population into submission is well executed, as the standard of living in prison is bad enough to deter citizens from doing anything that would result in a sentence. Bahrain’s prisons are unsanitary and often result in health deterioration of their prisoners. However, Bahrain regularly denies healthcare to the ill in prison, leaving them to suffer immensely. This month, Mohammad Fathi, who is currently serving 14 years in prison, suffered from a cancerous tumor in his head and was denied medical treatment repeatedly. The tumor continued to grow until it was apparent that he needed immediate medical care, to which he was operated on in an extremely dangerous procedure, which would typically require a long stay in the hospital for recovery purposes. However, in line with Bahrain’s maltreatment of its prisoners, Fathi was immediately transferred back to prison after he awoke from his anesthesia, with no chance to heal before being thrown back into the unsanitary conditions.

Another prisoner suffering from cancer and in an already-weakened state. Elias Al-Mullah, fractured his leg after falling in the prison field this month. The prison administration refused his request to transfer to the hospital for treatment, and he remains in bad health with no access to the medical attention he needs.

The government of Bahrain would prefer not to publicize the brutal conditions of its detainment facilities to the world, and made that clear this month when they denied a Danish member of parliament access to the country, where he had plans to visit and advocate for Danish-Bahraini citizen Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a human rights activist sentenced to life in Bahrain over political charges and his participation in the 2011 mass protests. The refusal to allow a Danish lawmaker access to a Danish citizen detained in Bahrain is a statement made by the Bahraini government which exemplifies its human rights malpractice.

The malpractice goes far beyond actions carried out by the government but is instilled in the laws of the country. This month, the Bahraini government passed a bill that bans people who were sentenced to criminal offenses or imprisonment in premeditated crimes, for any amount of time beyond six months, from running in a political election. Given the common practice of imprisoning human rights activists and innocent Shia Muslims in Bahrain, the bill singles out the Shia population by restricting a large number of political and religious leaders from ever participating in the politics of the country, making the repression, not just short term, but permanent. Not only does it ban those imprisoned from running in an election, but it restricts those who were and are members of political societies that were permanently dissolved in a judicial verdict from running in an election. On February 20th, 2018, the Manama Courts upheld a 2016 decision to dissolve the Al-Wefaq party, the major Shia political party in Bahrain. This new bill is essentially an enforcement of that decision, and any others that were similar, and bars the Shia political leaders from holding any office within the government, in an attempt to further silence Bahrain’s Shia.

Lastly, Bahraini security forces exhibited a blatant act of anti-Shiism at the end of the month when they bulldozed the Imam al-Askari Shia mosque in Hamad without prior warning. This blunt act of religious discrimination is not the first, but the second time that they have demolished this Shia place of worship; The first destruction took place in 2011 during the uprising, in an attempt to batter and bruise the Shia population at the basis of their faith.

April’s statistics make it clear that Bahrain is continuing to increase its efforts to repress its majority Shia population, with nearly double the amount of sentencings of March and a new law to restrict those who have been imprisoned from ever being the political change that Bahraini Shia seek. The offenses against the population in Bahrain are not only recurring but institutionalized, with the entire legal system revolving around the repression of Shia Muslims. Bahrain must embrace its majority population and cater to the needs of all of its people, rather than treating the largest portion of its people, Shia Muslims, as second-class citizens, and not citizens at all.

Iraq

 

Iraq continued to see a decrease in extremist attacks this April, totaling 64 incidents of Anti-Shiism, to last month’s 74 incidents, and just ⅓ of April 2017’s 188. The attacks, however, killed more than double the amount of Shia Muslims than March, showing that the ruthlessness of the takfiri terrorist groups has not decreased.

The beginning of this month’s attacks against Shia Muslims started on April 2nd when a sticky explosive device that was placed under the wheel of a car was detonated in Bayaa area of Baghdad. Daesh immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and said that they injured five Shia Muslims.

Two days later in the area of Dujail, south of Salah al-Din, an IED was detonated in the village of Sjla. Reports say that the explosion injured three people. No deaths were reported.

On April 6th, one Shia was killed by Daesh with an IED in the Khazaaliya area of Baghdad, and three others were injured in a separate incident when unknown gunmen opened fire with machine guns at a popular cafe in the Palestine Street area of the city, injuring three civilians and causing physical damage to the cafe.

Just short of one week later on April 12th, four more Shia Muslims were killed while traveling through Baquba city when an IED placed by Daesh exploded, destroying their vehicle and killing all of the passengers.

April 13th once again exemplified the inhumane nature of takfiri extremist groups when a bombing took the lives of 25 Shia Muslims and injured 18 more, all of whom were attending a funeral for Shia paramilitary fighters who had been killed the day prior by Daesh. Although no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, it can be assumed that Daesh wanted to continue their rampage by killing the families and loved ones of the paramilitary fighters as well, and are responsible for the carnage.

While much effort has been exerted and has succeeded in driving extremists out of Iraq, the threat that the remaining militants pose to the Shia population continues to hold strong, as the takfiri ideology present in the minds of these groups motivates their murderous actions. Iraq appears to be traveling down a positive path towards significantly reducing, and defeating the presence of anti-Shia sentiment in the country, and must continue to expel the extremist groups that are causing the violence to linger.

Pakistan

 

Pakistan’s anti-Shiism remained steady this month with the ongoing pattern of targeted extremist attacks. Wreaking havoc in Pakistan among the Shia population is the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) group, a Deobandi group which considers those of the Shia sect to be non-Muslim heretics. This month in Pakistan, extremists were responsible for the deaths of 13 Shia and the injury of 15.

On April 1st, Daesh-affiliated ASWJ terrorists opened fire on a vehicle in Quetta’s Kandahari Bazaar area. Two passengers, both Shia, were wounded by the bullets, which ultimately killed one and left the other in critical condition.

Two days later on April 3rd,  the body of a Shia student who disappeared on February 7th this year was discovered in an empty train car in Karachi’s City Railway Colony. A police investigation concluded that the murder was motivated by sectarian sentiments after the Shia family received a text demanding ransom money in exchange for their son’s life.

Later in the month, in a tactic not typically seen in Pakistan, an explosive device was used to target security personnel in the Shia-dominated city of Quetta. The device did not cause any casualties but injured five security officers who were nearby at the time of detonation.

Another man, Mohammad Asif, son of Mohammad Nasir Qandahari, was shot and killed this month when gunmen assumedly affiliated with the ASWJ group opened fire while riding by on motorcycles. Mohammad Asif was a shopkeeper within the Hazara Shia community in Quetta, a city in Pakistan regularly targeted by extremist groups.

Again in Quetta, two men, identified as Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Zaman, were killed in a terrorist attack. The two men were members of the Balochistan Shia Conference, as well as a part of the Hazara Shia community. A third man was injured as a result of the attack, however, his injuries are not critical.

Towards the end of April, six Shia were killed and another eight were injured in three separate suicide bombings in Quetta. The first bombing took place as a man drove his explosives-laden motorcycle into a van filled with security personnel while they were traveling to the airport. The explosion killed all six of the traveling passengers. The second and third bombings occurred as suicide bombers detonated their devices at security checkpoints just outside of the city, injuring 8.

Closing out the anti-Shia violence in the month of April, two Shia members of the Hazara community in Quetta were killed when extremists opened fire at an electronics shop on April 28th. The two victims were identified as Jafarullah Ghulam Ali and Mohammad Ali Wali Khan Ali, and both were pronounced dead after being transported to the nearest hospital. The shooters fled the scene as soon as they finished firing, and are unidentified in both identity and extremist affiliation.

A delegation from the Shia Hazara community met with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar this month in Quetta. They spoke with him about the problems they have been facing due to extremism in Quetta, and thanked him for the strides he had been making to protect their rights and safety. The chief justice said that he would continue to work to solve their harassment through legal means and incorporate the law to bring those who have acted illegally to justice.  

While the death toll in Pakistan is not as high as countries such as Iraq, or Afghanistan, the threat of extremism against Shia Muslims should not be overlooked. An attack on the Shia community, whether large or small, is an attack nonetheless, and representative of an anti-Shia ideology that is present and active in the region which must be solved through unity and religious tolerance.

 

Saudi Arabia

 

Saudi Arabia’s anti-Shiism comes in the form of religious intolerance via government policies. Often times Shia in Saudi are repressed through arbitrary arrests and unwarranted home raids carried out by security forces, rather than violent attacks orchestrated by extremist groups. While most of Saudi Arabia’s judicial actions are undisclosed, and therefore the exact number of anti-Shia actions is not known, there were four reported arbitrary arrests of Shia Muslims in the country this month in a series of attacks against the Shia-majority Eastern region.

Saudi forces launched a raid on the Husayniyat al-Kuwaikib in Qatif during the second week of April, arresting the three men who were inside the Husseiniya at the time. The forces also surrounded multiple neighborhoods in Qatif, setting up checkpoints and restricting Shia from entering or leaving the areas. Reports said that in a separate incident on the same day, a unit of Saudi forces fired an explosive at a house in Kuwaikib without providing a reason for their actions. No casualties were reported.

A female activist was also arrested by Saudi forces this month in Qatif after an investigation into her online posts and pro-Shia activism; 19-year-old Nour Said al-Musallam was taken into custody by Saudi security forces after her Twitter posts from as far back as 2015 were deemed unacceptable due to her unfavorable opinions on local and regional developments, likely about Saudi Arabia’s oppression of Shia Muslims. She is also an avid defender of local Shia mosques and congregation sites against potential threats to her places of worship and people of her faith. Saudi Arabia’s detention of a Shia activist due to her political beliefs and peaceful acts of religious protest shows a flaw in their justice system, as all citizens should be allowed both the freedom to an opinion and a freedom of religion.

Saudi Arabia’s religious government allows for abuses against those who do not follow the same school of thought as the country’s political and religious leaders. The Shia in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province continually experience human rights violations including arbitrary arrests, harsh sentences, and prison torture, and are restricted from freedom of religion, speech, congregation, movement, and their right to medical care and education. Saudi Arabia’s harsh policies and practices against the Shia minority in the country must end. As such a prominent Islamic country in the Middle East, home to both Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia’s government should practice peace and acceptance towards all sects of Islam, and all Muslims, setting an example for the rest of the Islamic world.

Conclusion

The first quarter of 2018 brought with it a surge of anti-Shiism, resulting in the deaths of 293 people, and wounding 670 others. 555 Shia were arbitrarily arrested, 573 were sentenced to prison, and a number of other anti-Shia incidents took place which denied basic human rights and freedoms to Shia Muslims. So far this year has stood witness to 2,163 occurrences of anti-Shiism in total, averaging 18 incidents per day. In perspective, imagine 18 of your friends, family members, colleagues, or acquaintances were assaulted, killed, or arrested every day this year since January 1st. Anti-Shia sentiment is a serious problem that is affecting millions of people worldwide every day. Shia Rights Watch condemns those who jeopardize the safety and rights of Shia Muslims around the world and invites all people to join in advocating for and defending their freedoms.




Incidents of Anti-Shiism in February, 2018

February proved itself to be a much less violent month than January, with sources reporting  343 incidents of Anti-Shiism, half of last month’s 673. However, the crackdowns on freedom of expression and incessant discrimination against the Shia population led to 52 deaths, 226 injuries, 71 arrests and harsh sentencing, and seven related anti-Shia actions, including but not limited to, sectarian slander, police brutality, and vandalism.

Anti-Shia incidents were witnessed in countries including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, and Canada, while peaceful protests and essential meetings on religious tolerance were held in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy.

Saudi Arabia

 

The government of Saudi Arabia continues to crack down on the Shia minority through both passive and active means. The country stood witness to 3 arrests, and two corrupt trials resulting in harsh sentencing on Shia civilians.

This month, Saudi Arabian officials were caught creating and using some fake social media accounts which produced thousands of posts per day to propagate anti-Shia and sectarian sentiments. The statements are also used to drown out dissent on social media by spamming popular hashtags and media feeds.

In addition to social media attacks, three young men were taken into custody by Saudi regime forces on February 11th, after their home was raided without warning. Two brothers, Hani and Ali al-Faraj, and one minor Hussain al-Zanadi were arrested as Saudi forces continue their attacks on the Shia-majority Eastern Province.

On the same day, a Shia civilian was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Saudi court in Riyadh for alleged terrorism, and February 21st saw the death sentence handed down to another on ‘security threat’ charges.

 

Bahrain

In the month marking the 7th anniversary of the 2011 uprising, Bahraini Shia saw yet another month consumed by regime crackdown. The government continues to hold responsibility for the mistreatment experienced by its citizens through means of violence and systematic oppression. Bahrain has seen a slight turn away from violent Regime attacks, but has witnessed an increase of the Regime’s brute force against the Shia population through a more hidden personification of oppression in the form of court sentences handed down to “security threats.” The country saw 66 Shia Muslims jailed or sentenced in court, 25 of which had their citizenship stripped leaving them stateless; 2 were documented as injured from prison torture, and activists were met with police brutality in an attempt to silence human rights advocates.

Beginning on February 1st with the sentencing of 32 individuals in Bahrain’s High Criminal Court, 1 defendant, Moosa Abdallah Moosa was sentenced to death as the alleged responsible party for a crime that occured 3 years ago in 2015, while 13 defendants were handed down life sentences, 8 defendants were sentenced to 15-years imprisonment, 4 defendants received 3 to 5 years’ imprisonment, and 6 individuals were acquitted; 25 of the 32 defendants were also stripped of their citizenship.

On the 1st of the month, 4 Bahraini citizens were also deported after the upholding of a 2012 sentencing that revoked their citizenship on the count of “damaging state security,” however, they were not informed as to what damage they imposed. Of the four deported were three brothers, Mohammed Ali, Abdul Amir, Abdulnabi Al-Mosawi and his wife, Maryam Redha. This deportation comes as the second half of 8 Bahraini citizens, 4 of which were deported two days prior on January 30th. This string of deportations shows an increasing abuse of power from the regime, as the generalization of what it means to be a “threat to state security” is unclear and leaves room for a significant amount of unfounded arrests and harsh sentences.

Ten others were sentenced by the court on February 6th and charged as anti-regime activists, guilty of multiple unfounded charges with, “forming “unlawful” gatherings of more than 5 people” among the few. 5 of the defendants were sentenced to 10 years in prison, and five were handed down five-year sentences.

President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to an additional five years in prison over tweets that condemned the Saudi-led war in Yemen and Manama’s treatment of prisoners. He was arrested in 2016 and is currently serving a two-year sentence for “spreading rumors and false information” about the government in television interviews. His sentencing came after weeks of international condemnation of his imprisonment and calls for his release. The Manama court’s actions have been slammed by human rights organizations as a “mockery of justice.”

On February 21st, five family members, Amal, Iman and Fatima Ali, and two of their husbands, Mohsen Al-A’li and Ali Al-Shagal, were sentenced to 3 years in prison, each on politically motivated charges of “covering up for a wanted person.” Madina Ali was also sentenced to three years on the same charges. Death sentences were issued against three more civilians, and several other citizens were sentenced to 15 years in jail after coerced confessions.

A 7-year jail sentence was upheld for a 22-year-old citizen accused of participating in the February 14th Coalition, and the al-Wafi Islamic Party; both of which are groups that publicly oppose the Regime’s exclusive and discriminatory policies.

Bahrain saw a total of 7 arrests this month. Three citizens were arrested in the early hours of February 3rd after a security raid took place orchestrated by the Ministry of the Interior. The arrests were made on the basis of political accusations, exemplifying the Kingdom’s policies that thwart free speech and whistleblowers of human rights violations. Of those arrested in the raids were Ali Mohammad Hassan and Abbas Jassim Bu Hamid from al-Malikiya village, and Mohammad Al-A’am from A’ali.

On February 25th, four more men were arrested after their homes were raided by security forces. The reason for their arrests has still not been disclosed.

Sheikh Isa al-Moemen, Shia cleric and Imam of al-Kheif Mosque in al-Dair village, was also placed under arrest this month and sentenced to 3 months in jail after being accused of inciting hatred against the regime in a sermon he delivered on July 29th, 2016. Moemen has already served a sentence from the same accusation verdict over an address he gave on August 5th, 2016, having experienced the Regime’s unruly policies multiple times.

Behind bars, reports surfaced this month that citizens in Bahraini prisons are being abused, beaten to false confessions, and fed through containers that previously held cleaning supplies, exploiting a massive human rights concern and furthering the mistreatment of the imprisoned Shia majority.

On the days before, and the days following the protests that marked the 7th anniversary of the 2011 uprising, many demonstrations took place, and protesters were met with the brutal police force, used in an attempt to disperse those gathered to commemorate the ongoing battle for political justice and change. Police used tear gas to break up crowds resulting in injuries. However, the extent of these injuries is not known. Due to the lack of freely available medical attention to the Shia population, as well as the fear of Regime backlash, injured Shia protesters often go without medical care, allowing for the number of activists injured to remain unknown. Breaking up the peaceful protests to halt all public dissent against the regime is another way in which Shia Muslims are continually marginalized in Bahrain and denied their right to freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression was also halted this month in Bahrain as the ban on Friday prayer at the Imam Al Sadiq Mosque in Diraz, the largest Shia congregation, continued for the 85th consecutive week. Armored vehicles created a blockade outside of the building, along with concrete barricades and security checkpoints throughout the city.

A total of 72 Anti-Shia incidents occurred this month in Bahrain alone, adding to the sum of 569 this year so far. As activists continue to stand up for their rights and their beliefs, the government crackdowns continue to get more vicious. Freedom of speech or expression, when used to speak against injustices carried out by the Regime, is seen as a terrorist activity, “threat to national security,” and slander. Shia in Bahrain are continuously unable to speak out and advocate for their rights due to the threat of jail, deportations, and death.

Pakistan

Pakistan’s Shia Muslims are routinely the victims of anti-Shia extremist groups, which are met with a lack of government action, turning the situation into a free-for-all allowing anti-Shiism to flourish.

This pattern held true in February with two shootings; both carried out by takfiri terrorists belonging to the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ; formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba) group, which resulted in the deaths of 2 civilians in the Dera Ismail region of Pakistan. Of the two men murdered were Iftikhar Hussain, and Motiullah, the custodian of Mohallah Shaheen Imam Bargah, a Shia place of congregation and ceremony.

The lack of government action to pursue and prosecute the terrorists involved in the attacks led to some massive, but peaceful, protests in the Dera Ismail region to draw attention to the injustices done by allowing the extremist cells to continue operating and targeting Shia Muslims without repercussion.

Nigeria

 

Nigeria entered its second month of daily protests calling for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, the head of Nigeria’s Islamic movement who was arrested in 2015 and has been detained at an unknown location without charges since.

While the protests took place in a peaceful manner, some were still met with backlash and brutality leading to the arrest of some Shia protesters. Beyond arrests came the death of Sheikh Qaseem Umar Sokoto, who was shot by Nigerian Police while peacefully protesting for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky. Sokoto died two weeks later due to complications from his wound.

Iraq

Iraq has seen a sudden jump in terror activity and strategic attacks in Shia-majority regions this year, stemming from a previously steady rise in civilian casualties and injuries as the efforts to push these groups out of the country grow stronger. Iraqi Shia were victims to some roadside bombings and other various attacks carried out by extremist groups this month, which caused 45 deaths and 198 injuries, averaging nine incidents per day.

Many bombings in Iraq target areas around the Shia-majority regions of Baghdad and the city of Ramadi, with militant groups typically targeting unsuspecting civilians at famous souqs or markets. This month, detonations of IED devices took the lives of 17 Shia Muslims and left an additional 73 severely wounded and hospitalized. Gunmen claimed the lives of 8, wounding 6, and targeted poisoning left 17 dead and 140 taken ill.

The poisoning took place on February 13th, after members of an anti-Daesh, Shia PMF coalition ate at a restaurant in the Shia area of al-Khalis in the province of Diyala. All members were rushed to the local hospital, with the more critical cases being transferred to centralized medical centers in Baghdad. The details of the poisoning itself currently remain under investigation, as mayor of al-Khalis, Adi Alkhaddran, called for an in-depth analysis of what is anticipated to be deemed an intentional attack.

In addition to bombings, extremist groups like Daesh also take part in the kidnapping and murder of civilian Shia Muslims. In a series of kidnappings this month, two Shia men fell victim to takfiri tactics and were found dead a day after they were kidnapped by the group.

One of the more hopeful events of February took place in Iraq as well, as the college of Jurisprudence at the University of Kufa organized a symposium to discuss rapprochement of the Shia and non-Shia sects of Islam. Dean of the college, Dr. Waleed Farajallah hoped to seek effective inter-faith dialogue to create unity and clarify the image of Shia Muslims. The occurrence of this seminar is a positive step for the advocacy of

Shia rights and non-discrimination in Iraq.

USA/UK

In the United States and the United Kingdom, protesters gathered outside of the Bahrain Embassy on February 14th to stand in solidarity with Bahrain’s Shia Muslims and to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

Additionally, on February 6th in the UK, a group of activists protested outside of the Bahrain Embassy in London to demand the release of activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who is serving a life sentence over his role in pro-democracy protests in 2011.

Protests outside of Bahrain’s borders draw international attention and recognition to the human rights violations at hand carried out against Shia Muslims. Raising awareness for the injustices Shia Muslims have, and continue to face on the mainstream media of Western countries gives an amplified voice to the Shia in Bahrain, among other countries, whose voices are met with the threat of persecution and left unheard.

Italy

Various religious leaders, academics, and policymakers met with Pope Francis after a seminar titled, “Violence in the Name of Religion,” which was organized by the UK-based Wilton Park Institute in cooperation with Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican.

Al-Khoei stated “The Seminary in Najaf and the Supreme Religious Authority have played an essential role in disseminating tolerance and moderation while focusing on social justice, human rights and dignity regardless of religion, sect, and nationalism,” in his speech directed towards academics and religious leaders from around the world.

International religious recognition of Shia rights, and an understanding and aim to secure and protect those rights in the religious community provides oppressed Shia with a world-renowned community of support and advocacy for their freedom from persecution. The increasing amount of global acknowledgment to the prejudice faced by Shia creates an increasing pressure on government and religious authorities to reconcile their beliefs and policies with Shia Muslims both in their countries and abroad.

Canada

Canada experienced an unusual case of anti-Shiism this month when prayer stones in University of Toronto praying room were vandalized and a letter was left stating:

 

“To the Shia’s: No such thing as following Imam Ali.

And no such thing as using a stone for praying.

– Kind Regards.”

Aside from the hopeful international recognition of Shia Muslims, the public condemnations such as this are a constant reminder that there is much left to be done. While policies can be installed to lessen the suffering of Shia at the hands of government, and many governments do engage in non-discriminatory practices, ideology proves to be a much more difficult issue to tackle. Without a stress on religious tolerance, the mindsets that foster the poisonous thoughts of anti-Shia sentiments will continue to flourish. The problem of anti-Shia discrimination can not be solved unless the conversation of inexclusive peace and acceptance is taught without fail in religious communities.

Conclusion

The first two months of 2018 have seen a new spark in Anti-Shiism, seeing more incidents in January and February than the final two months of 2017, which were part of a steady decline of Anti-Shia episodes. This February, while significantly calmer than January, was riddled with twice as many injuries, and a similar number of deaths, giving way to the realities of repression and persecution that Shia Muslims experience on a daily basis. However, resiliently pursuing through the hardships, Anti-Shia targeted acts were met by activists with peaceful protests against the injustices they face, using their voices and rising amid the threats of detainment and death.

This new emergence of Anti-Shiism in 2018 exemplifies and emphasizes that there is still much work to be done to correct the systematic repression imposed by government institutions, as well as to correct the discriminatory mindsets and ideologies that inspire extremists to conduct attacks against Shia Muslims.

Freedom of expression is a key to lessen the suffering and discrimination endured by Shia Muslims, as silence creates complicity and complicity masks the issues at hand. Shia Rights Watch will continue to give a voice to those without, until every Shia Muslim has access to basic human rights and fair treatment.