Anti-Shiism, in the form of direct violence, discrimination, and marginalization, was reported in the nations of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. It is important to note that cases of violence stated in this report are only a sample of the incidents of anti-Shiism faces by the worlds Shia minority. Shia Rights Watch recognizes that incidents of violence are in large part not reported as many religious minorities live in fear of further persecution based on their religious identity.
Bahrain continues to be the most dangerous county for Shia Muslims. Bahraini female detainee Zakiya Issa Al-Barboury was given five-year-prison sentence and stripped of her citizenship. Al-Barboury was accused of alleged ‘terrorism’ offenses after being arbitrarily detained in May of last year.
Also during this month, several Shia mosques and religious gathering places were razed as they commemorated the martyrdom anniversary of Hazrat Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) as part of their Shia rituals. Local activists reported that security forces removed black flags and banners put up in public places to commemorate the occasion overnight.
Sayed Al Meshaal was summoned for questioning and detained at the start of February for allegedly ‘inciting hatred against the regime. The cleric then was arrested, just days after completing a two-and-a-half-year prison term. The cleric was released after almost one month of unexplained detention.
As SRW predicted the Shia rights violation rose during this month as it marks the 8th anniversary of Bahrain 2011 uprising. On February 13th, forces raided Diraz, A’ali, Buri, Sitra, Eker, Shakhura, Nuwaidrat, and Karzakan and arrested as many as 23 people. Protests and sit-ins also rose on February 14th, and another 13 were arrested as a result.
Hussein Radhi, Ebtisam Al-Saegh and Ali Hussein Abdulwahab were picked up by the kingdom’s security forces over the weekend after their homes were raided in the northern Bahraini village of Al Musalla. The Bahraini minors have been remanded in detention over their alleged involvement in an illegal gathering – a charge commonly used by Manama to describe peaceful anti-regime protests. According to local rights campaigner teenagers are denied the right to contact their parents.
Furthermore, The Bahrain Court revoked the citizenship of 11 Shia and sentenced 7 of them to life in prison for their involvement in pro-democracy movements. The UK-based Salam for Democracy and Human Rights announced in a post published on its official Twitter page that “the Manama regime has stripped 40 people of their citizenship since January” 2019.
The activists report that authorities refuse to engage in dialogue with the demonstrators, who are peacefully demanding reforms. The government has not shown any effort to address the need of the community.
Other violations were reported in Iraq and Pakistan. A bus was exploded in Iraq’s Samarra killing at least 13 people. Samarra is home to two Shia Shrines that were bombed and exploded in 2006. Activists in Pakistan also reported that the Interior Ministry of Pakistan had issued the notification against Shia Muslims ahead of Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit in Pakistan.
They state that the hateful words against the Shia community were used in the notice, and several activists were detained too.
Shia Rights Watch continues to monitor and report violations to increase awareness and reduce the discriminations against minorities.