Date: September 11, 2014
The Honorable Mr. Serdar Kılıç
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20008
Dear Honorable Ambassador Kılıç,
We here at Shia Rights Watch are writing to you today to draw your attention to the Shia rights violations taking place in Turkey. The Shia population worldwide has fallen victim to sectarian discrimination and repression by governments and armed groups. With the rise of the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the security problem of the Shia Muslims has become worse in the region. We would like to inform you that there have been three Shia mosque attacks since June 2014 in different regions of Istanbul and would like to ask your cooperation with regards to protecting the Shia Muslim population of Turkey.
On June 9, 2014 a Ja’fari mosque, Allahu Ekber Ehlibeyt, in Esenyurt district of Istanbul was set to fire. On July 9, 2014 Muhammediye mosque in Esenyurt was attacked by strangers who are thought to be the members of ISIS. The Imam, Hamza Aydin, stated that 10 days prior to the attack, he was verbally threatened and his congregation was accused of “worshipping to the stones and crying to the shrines.” Despite the fact that Aydin informed the police about the threat, he said the police failed to take precautions against any further jeopardy. The library section of the mosque was set on fire 10 days after the verbal threats against. The two attackers were reported to say “we will not allow you to recite the ezan here in this mosque” during their attack. On September 3, 2014 the under-construction Imam Ali mosque was attacked by a group of 20-30 people who shouted that they did not want a Shia mosque in their neighborhood.
Shia Rights Watch sees these actions as a violation of Article 2 and Article 18 of Declaration of Human Rights. These attacks are not only violations of religious and identity freedom, but a threat to the unity of Turkish people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well. As ISIS is the major threat to the freedom of the minority groups, including the Shia people in the region, we, as Shia Rights Watch, kindly ask the Turkish Embassy of Washington, DC to work with us on the issue of protecting the rights of the Turkish Shias.
Director of Shia Rights Watch