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Incidents of Anti-Shiism, October 2020

Anti-Shiism,  the targeting of Shia Muslims on the basis of their faith raves across international borders. In the month of October, Anti-Shiism in the forms of discrimination, persecution, and violence were reported in the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Shia Rights Watch notes that incidents of direct violence have a higher degree of reporting in comparison to systemic or cultural anti-Shiism. This report quantifies incidents of Anti-Shiism reported by witnesses, grassroots activists, and local sources.



In the last week of October alone, 78 civilians were killed by terror attacks.

Kabul faced numerous attacks across the month.  A school bombing in Al-Kawthar School killed 32 students and led to the injury of 70 others, making it the deadliest attack of the month. The attacker detonated his explosive vest in the alley leading up to the school building.

Later on the 27th, three civilians were killed and 10 others were injured by a roadside bomb in the 10th Police District

Incidents of Anti-Shiism were frequent in Kandahar Province. In the beginning of the month, two minors were killed by a roadside bomb in Zari district.  On the 25th of October, a roadside bomb in Wayand area if Shawalikot District killed two and injured one other.

On route attacks were also prominent in the country. The attacks, roadside bombs, targeted passengers traveling between cities. One such incident occurred in Helmand Province – five civilians, two of which were children, were killed and 9 others were wounded as a passenger bus was detonated by a roadside bomb.



Anti-Shiism in Pakistan took to the mainstream in 2020. Fueled by extremism from the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, also known as Sipah Sahaba, anti-Shia protests spread across Karachi and Shia Muslims all over Pakistan report concern. Between August and September 2020, seven Shia Muslims were killed amidst Anti-Shia protests and over 30 blasphemy charges were registered against Shia Muslims. In Quetta, a grenade targeting a Shia congregation led to the injury of seven, two of which were children. Later in the month, four were killed and 34 were wounded when a bomb detonated in a Quranic school in Peshawar.

In the  month of October, 65 Shia Muslims have been arrested across the nation, including but not limited to the locations of Khanewal, Dara Ghazi Khan, Narwal, Bahawlnagar, Multan, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Sargodha, Khushab, Laya, Islamabad DJ Khan, Kot DJ, and Khairpur. Local sources noted that a number of those arrested were minors.



Shia Muslims face heightened violence in the hands of authorities. In the month of October, at least 30 were arrested. Across the country, authorities raided prominent Shia neighborhoods and arrested tens of Shia individuals. Many of those arrested were orators scheduled to perform on the occasion of ‘Arbaeen,’ or the commemoration of the fortieth day anniversary of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

Among those arrested are: Ahmad Al-Gharifi, Mojtaba Sayed Saeed, Hassan Al-Dirazi, Hassan Hamid Mushaima, Haider Ali Nasser, Ali Muhanna, Ahmed Al Majid, Habib Al Mahdi, Abbas Al-Ghasra, Mahdi Sahwan, Qassem Marhoon, Hassan Al-Maliki, Mahdi Al-Al, Ahmed Abbas Ali, Hassan Saleh Al-Qattan, Ahmed Saeed Khatam, Jawad Ahmed Jawad, Adel Al-Sayyid Hamza, Ali Al-Halibi, Ahmed Nasser, Sadiq Matar Fateel, Yusef Ali Al-Maliki, Ahmad Qambar, Abdullah Khatam, Hussein Qambar, Ali Jumah, Jaafar Sahwan, Hussein Al-Sayed Hashem, Muhammad Abbas Karim Amin, Munir Mushaima, Hussein Qambar, Jaafar Fadl, Kamil Ashour, Hussein Al-Sami Mahmoud Al-Fardan, Muayad Muhammad, Mahmoud Jaafar Dhaif, and Hussain Muhammad Abdullah.

In addition to the arrests, local sources report property damage as well as physical harm to civilians amidst the raids.


Saudi Arabia

As a minority group historically targeted by extremism, Shia Muslims face persecution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On October 6,  security forces arrested orator Muhammad Bou Jabara and  Ali Khulayya for participation ‘Arbaeen’ ceremonies. Later in Hamman security forces arrested Ali Al-Awami, after raiding his home.

On the tenth of October, three females were arrested in Qatif following a home raid. Sources close to the families report detroyal of property and disappearance of possessions as the result of the raid. Also in Qatif, numerous homes were demolished and displaced dozens of Shia Muslims in the town of Al-Bahari by security forces.



Across the month of October, activity by ISIS assailants plagued the nation of Iraq. Bombings and gunfire were the most prominent forms of violence perpetuation in the country.

Baghdad was a prominent target for extremist targeting of Shia Muslims. On October 6, security forces found the body of an individual who had been stabbed in the Husayniyah area of al-Ma’mal. Two days later, the detonation of a sticky bomb that was installed at the bottom of a civilian wheel in the Kasra wa Atsh area, east of Baghdad, resulted in the killing of a man and the injury of his son. On the same day, the body of an individual was discovered in al-Sadr. The body showed signs of gunfire. On the 12th of the month, yet another body was found in southeast Baghdad. A proportion of killing attempts by ISIS have been unsuccessful and led to injury and not death. On the 20th, three were injured as an ISIS assailant attacked them on west Baghdad.

Diyala is yet another locality in which Shia Muslims face heightened risk of violence. Early in the month The village of Al-Islah in Jalawla, Diyala, was hit by three mortar shells fired by ISIS. On the same day, two civilians were injured  and two others were wounded by mortar shells in Diyala. Days later, again in Diyala, three mortar shells were detonated damaging property. On the 14th, an ISIS attack led to the death of a young man in the al-Muqdadiyah district. Late in the month, five of a single family were killed in a two part detonation in the outskirts of the al-Muqdadiyah district. Sources report the incident consisted of a lifeless shepherd’s body being strapped with a bomb which detonated as his family approached his body. The second detonation occurred as others approached the deceased.

Numerous others were killed in the areas of Kirkuk as roadside bombs targeted passersby.

Shia Rights Watch notes that the above mentioned does not include the numerous dismantled explosive devices found across Iraq.


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