Shia Rights Watch dedicates its efforts to protecting and promoting the rights of Shia Muslims all over the world. Within this advisory Shia Rights Watch expresses venerations to the Shia community on the event of the holy of the month of Muharram and calls on the greater international community for increased security against human rights violations based on religious beliefs.
Muharram marks the commemoration of the sacrifices made against human rights violations. On this occasion, Shia Muslims openly campaign against the terrors of their time.
The nature of the congregation and visible religious expression, Shia Muslims become easy to identify and target.
To prevent violations and to ensure the safety of the Shia community, SRW presents the following tips to create a unified platform for expression that not only meets religious guidelines but also lends to international and domestic regulations.
This advisory targets members of the Shia religious faith and national and local authorities.
To the Shia communities:
Know your rights as knowledge is key to rights
- As constituents of your nation, you have civil liberties. Familiarize yourself and your community with the nation’s defined human rights and freedom of religion.
Build a relationship with your community law enforcement
- Approach your community law enforcement and communicate your observations for the month of Muharram.
- Seek consultation from your local police department on the placement of security measures such as camera systems and alarms.
- Ask for increased security. In many communities, police provide special protection for your institution, given your coordination. Keep in mind that increased security measures must be requested in advance.
- If needed, obtain the necessary congregation permits in advance.
Reach out to Government Representative
- Meet with the governor and mayor of your town. Have a conversation about your concerns. Reach out and open a line of communication.
Be cognisant of your non-practicing community
- Recognize that you are a part of a broader community that may or may not commemorate Muharram.
- Respect local regulations.
- Reach out and communicate an increase in activity to neighbors and surrounding institutions.
- Prepare and provide brochures or pamphlets, educating others on the significance and relevance of Muharram.
In case of a human rights violation, Know Your Resources!
- In case of emergency, contact your local police immediately.
- Contact Shia Rights Watch to inquire about rights-based counseling and broadcast.
To national and local authorities:
Be aware of the increased risk of anti-Shiism and increase security measures
- Congregation and religious expression are critical in Muharram rituals. Increased visibility and dense populations of Shia ease anti-Shia violence, and thus, Shia communities are at a higher risk.
- Extremist organizations are willing to target Shia Muslims at the cost of civilian and non-civilian lives.
- Organize increased security according to Shia distribution in the area.
Include Shia community leaders in civil planning
- Reach out to community leaders in the preparation of security measures and possible changes in traffic patterns
- Leaders within Shia communities have first-hand knowledge of the rituals and concerns of their respective communities. Including them in civil-planning can reduce the cost of additional measures.
- Inclusion of local communities allows for cohesion and is linked with increased bi-directional cooperation in policy
Provide training to non-Shia members of the security enforcement
- Access implicit bias and train against discrimination in law enforcement
- Educate law enforcement about Shia beliefs and rituals
- Members of law enforcement are not exemptions to discriminatory cultures in the larger society. Local and National authorities must address implicit bias within their security personnel to ensure the law is being carried out in an unbiased manner.
#Muharram2019 has been established by Shia Rights Watch as a platform to share recent anti-Shia incidents for both members of the Shia community and authorities. The link will be monitored by international media outlets and human rights organizations.