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Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education

Shia Rights Watch,شیعة رايتس ووتش

Shia Rights Watch, New York/June; In the Middle East and other countries where violent extremism has effected the stability and growth; violent groups continue targeting educated professionals and continue to promote isolation and radicalization.

The UNSG Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) advocates global citizenship education (GCED) as one of its 3 priority areas. As a GEFI partner, UNESCO leads the technical work in GCED at the global level and seeks to equip learners with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are based on and instill respect for human rights and diversity, and contribute to building young people’s resilience to violent extremist messaging. On 15 January 2016, the UN Secretary-General presented his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism to the General Assembly. On 12 February 2016, the General Assembly adopted the resolution which “welcomes the initiative by the Secretary-General, and takes note of his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism”.

Our expert in De-Radicalization attended a roundtable debate focusing on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education in the Trusteeship Council Chamber in New York

The roundtable Debate on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education will provide a platform for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers to exchange ideas and share their perspectives, innovative solutions and initiatives in the prevention of violent extremism and the role education can play in the different contexts where young people might be susceptible to movements and organizations promoting violent extremism.


Shia Rights Watch in South Korea

Shia Rights Watch,شیعة رايتس ووتش

Shia Rights Watch in South Korea

SRW is proud to take part in the sixty-sixth Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference hosted by South Korea in Gyeongju from 30 May to 1 June 2016.

The conference is held under the theme “Education for Global Citizenship:  Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together”. By its participation SRW aims to create and strengthen its global partnerships in support of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals through educating the world about minority rights, especially Shia Muslims.

“Education is one of the most powerful means to spread acceptance and reduce violence,” says Mustafa Akhwand, the director of SRW. “We hope our participation in this event creates opportunities for educating international committees about the rights of Shia and advocating for them”.

Native Korean SRW representative, In Koung Kim is in Gyeongju, and more information in regards to this event can be obtained by contacting SRWDC@ShiaRightsWatch.org

Shia News Wire # 68

May 20th to 27th, 2016


Targeted gunfire and improvised explosive devices (IED’s) in Shia populated areas of Baghdad has left 36 killed. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, and holds a minority population of Shia Muslims. Historically, Baghdad has been home to chronic violence. To this day, there has been little done by officials in efforts to capture those involved and further reduce targeting of this minority in this city.


In the passing week, detainment of shia pro-democracy activist continued. On May 24, Shaikh Mohammad al-Mansi, a prominent shia scholar was sentenced to one year in prison after being held in detainment for over a month for leading mass prayers without state licensure. Al-Mansi was a highly recognized cleric who called for democracy and publicly denounced the demolition of tens of Shia mosques by Bahraini officials. Days after al-Mansi’s sentencing, 14 other shia individuals were detained sentenced three to 15 years in prison for pro-democracy efforts. The numerous arrests and exaggerated sentences are further examples of the continuing targeting of Shia muslims in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Asia Pacific Group, and Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG)

Shia Rights Watch,شیعة رايتس ووتش

Shia Right’s Representative to the United Nations attends series of moderated debates for candidate Member States running for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.

As an independent civil society organization, with member United Nations Associations (UNAs) in over 100 countries, WFUNA will conduct an open, fair process, to allow each Permanent Mission the opportunity to present its case for election to the wider UN community.

The debates in regards to candidates for the Asia Pacific Group, and  Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG),  takes place in the ECOSOC Chamber where organizations (NGOS), country delegates and member state have a chance to pose their questions and concerns with the candidates.

Shia News Wire # 67

May 13th to 20th, 2016


This week Iraq witnessed the loss of 142 lives to atrocious terror attacks. Attacks were centralized mainly in Shia populated areas of Baghdad, as well as the city of Baquba, by IEDs and gunfire. The largest attack was seen on May 17th when an series of three attacks in the form of car bombings and suicide bombs were detonated in Baghdad. Initially, an explosion occurred in a marketplace in Shaab (northeast Baghdad). Then, a suicide attacker targeted aid to the victims in that same area. Finally, a car bombing in Sadr City detonated causing the death of 14.


As the struggle for democracy continues, Bahraini courts sentences six protesters to 10 year prison sentences, and one protester to a three year detainment period.

Manifestations of Anti­Shiism


Shia Rights Watch




Shia Rights Watch 2015-16 Scholarship

Shia Rights Watch is proud to announce the recipient of another Anti-Shiism scholarship. Akbar Jeffrey’s paper,”Manifestations of anti­Shi’ism”, is selected as the winning paper.

 The Anti-Shiism scholarship was established in 2014 to increase awareness and understanding of the targeting of the Shia minority all over the world. We hope this The  tuition assistance encourages students of all disciplines to continue higher education and make scholarly contribution to the field of minority rights.

Akbar Jaffery is  20 year old from the suburbs of Chicago. He will be a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago starting Fall 2017. His major is Political Science and Economics and hopes to pursue Law degree.

Shia Rights Watch congratulates Akbar Jeffery on his award and wishes him the highest achievements.


Manifestations of Anti­Shi’ism

Akbar Jaffery


Shi’a history has consistently been characterized with vehement and at times, violent opposition, only finding a handful of periods to unfold without the guiding force of state or communal terror ­ such as tenth­century Buyid (Persia) and 18th century Nawabi Awadh (India) rule. Barring these two examples among other kingdoms and dynasties with Shi’ism as a state religion, others reflect Shi’a history as a history of suppression ­ suppression which has evoked an interest in Shi’a history among scholars directly following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, attempting to put to rest American and Western notions of Shi’ism as a religion of radicalism (Fuller, Francke 1999).

This interest has only increased in recent decades: various Shi’a organizations have started to reach out to the West for their voice to be heard following the recent wave of anti­Shi’a violence in Pakistan, the Bahrain government’s suppression of protests, and a rare attack targeted against the Shi’a of Kuwait in June 2015. When explaining worldwide anti­Shi’a sentiment, the Shi’a will often broadly interpret it in terms of violent sectarianism. This is a very simplistic approach and only touches one aspect of many different factors in which anti­Shi’a sentiment may manifest itself across numerous countries.

This paper examines government fears and terrorist objectives that move beyond emotions of hatred of the Shi’a, in hopes that a proper identification of the problem will assist in forming appropriate solutions to offer greater security to the Shi’a in their respective countries.

Such an examination necessitates an understanding of the Shi’a, their origins, and their early history as distinct from the Sunni school of thought. As examining the split between both traditions is beyond the scope of this paper, it suffices to say there exists a vast array of literature on the topic, and while many Sunni and Shi’a view their beliefs as being expressed and established as the orthodox during the Prophet Muhammad’s life, there exists a general consensus among historians that Shi’ism was merely a preference or leaning prior to the advent of the Abbasids in the mid-8th century.

Najam Haider challenged this notion in The Origins of the Shi’a by highlighting a proto­Shi’a strand present earlier into the 8th century in Kufa, Iraq. Above all, both traditions evolved concurrently. Unlike the Christian splintering off of sects with an established orthodox, writes Omid Safi, “in spite of the frequent association of “orthodox” with Sunni interpretations of Islam, it is a mistake to identify Islamic orthodoxy with either the Sunni or Shi’a tradition” (Safi 2009: 258­59).

While both traditions evolved synchronously, they nevertheless considered their respective foundations Islamic orthodoxy, thus heretical beliefs of certain proto­Shi’a groups characterized much of the Sunni heresiographical works, most famously al­Shahrastani’s Kitab al­Milal wa al­Nihal. Al­Shahrastani’s Kitab vilified the roots of Shi’ism proper in accordance with the prophetic narration of the Islamic ummah[1] splintering into 73 sects, where only one is to be saved on the Day of Judgment.[2]

While the earliest examples of heresiographical literature address the Ash’ari and Mu’tazili traditions within Sunni Islam, the first extant work encapsulating differences between sects understood today is Abu Mansur al­Baghdadi’s (d. 1037) Farq bayn al­Firaq. After describing the beliefs of various groups, he reaches the conclusion that the saved group (al­Firqa al­Najiya) is none other than the Ahl al­Sunnah wal Jama’ah[3] (Thomas: 226­229).

Although al­Baghdadi was primarily an 11th century scholar, the beliefs of specific proto­Shi’a and Shi’a groups were well known among 10th century Sunni scholars. Abu Hayyan al­Tawhidi, an influential Sunni thinker of 10th century Baghdad, harshly criticized the Shi’a doctrine of bada’[4] which he correctly ascribed to the Kaysaniyya sect, and beliefs of other extremist proto­Shi’a individuals and groups, such as anthropomorphism and metempsychosis (al­Qadi 2003: 147).

Shi’a theology, including beliefs that were held by certain groups at certain periods of time, thus characterize a general Sunni antagonism towards Shi’ism.

Sunni scholars in following centuries continued to similarly expound on various beliefs of the Shi’a which they viewed as heretical, oftentimes conflating the beliefs of various Shi’a sects. In the 13th century, Ibn Taymiyyah wrote his Minhaj al­Sunnat al­Nabawiyyah fi naqd kalam al­Shi’at al­Qadariyyah, in which he berates the ghulat (exaggerator) theologies, Ismailism, and popular Twelver Shi’ism, “ignoring the important doctrinal and practical differences between various Shi’a sects” (Dabashi 1988: 75), in hopes of popularizing the belief of their disbelief. A simple argument offered by one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s renowned students, Ibn Qayyim al­Jawziyyah, brings to the fore a narration in which the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have claimed he accepts the Muslim ummah as long as the ummah is accepted by his companion Ibn Mas’ud. Extending Ibn Mas’ud to represent the entire body of the Prophet’s companions, Ibn al­Qayyim concludes to oppose a single companion is tantamount to opposing the Prophet (Bell 2003: 202).

Arguments such as Ibn al­Qayyim’s were formed by Sunni scholars over centuries to ostracize the Shi’a across the Muslim world where Sunni Muslims formed the rulership, aristocracy, and majority.

However, animosity against the Shi’a does not only stem from theological differences.

During the 8th to the 11th centuries, the rulers of the Islamic domain too wished to ostracize the Shi’a, not only because the clergy they surrounded themselves with opposed Shi’ism in theory, but because the rise in ‘Alid revolts became a burden for the ‘Abbasid caliphs. Opposition to Shi’ism began to carry ‘Abbasid fears of losing power and influence following the revolts of Muhammad al­Nafs al­Zakiyya (d. 762), Hussain b. ‘Ali (d. 786) and Abu al­Saraya (d. 815).

These ‘Alid revolts resulted in measures to prevent future dissent. One such measure was the Caliph al­Ma’mun’s naming of the eighth Twelver Shi’a Imam, ‘Ali b. Musa al­Rida, as his heir­apparent following the revolt of Abu al­Saraya, generally spoken of as an attempt by al­Ma’mun to reconcile the ‘Abbasids and ‘Alids (Buyukkara 2002: 445­46).

The other tactic was to keep the Shi’a Imams under close watch or house arrest, as was the case with the ninth, ‘Ali al­Hadi and eleventh, Hassan al­‘Askari; the seventh Twelver Imam, Musa b. Ja’far al­Kazim, was kept imprisoned. The imprisonment and close watch of later Twelver Imams played a great role in the shaping of a Shi’a psyche, understanding their history as one of persecution which fits into their memory of dispossession starting with the first Imam, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib.

This trend of opposing the Shi’a to maintain one’s power can be seen in contemporary situations where the Shi’a unanimously feel they are, or have been, persecuted by the ruler(s) of their respective countries, most notably where the Shi’a form an absolute majority ­ Bahrain and Iraq. In order to sustain their Western­backed minority rule, various methods have been adopted by the rulers of these two countries ranging from fascism veiled as secularism, to blatant anti­Shi’a state persecution.

As a great proponent of the former, Saddam Hussein maintained his nearly 25 year long regime through claims of upholding secularism. Infamous for his suppression of Iraq’s Kurdish minority and Shi’a majority, his terror was easily sustained with the guise of secular Ba’athism[5]. Militant Arab nationalism of the early 20th century served Ba’athist interests following its successful coups in the 1960s. British support of Sunni military officers propping the Kingdom of Iraq following World War I set the overlap of Sunnism with military authority and state formation, an association consolidated following Iraq’s independence. While the first Ba’ath coup brought several Shi’a members into its Regional Command, there was not a single Shi’a by 1970 (Fuller, Francke: 97).

Ba’athism’s failure to include Iraq’s Shi’a majority is indicative of how entrenched identities and recollections of Sunnism are within the wider scope of Arab history.

This sense of Arabism, accompanied with anti­Persian rhetoric, heightened following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Associated with Safavid Iran for centuries, one of the oft­repeated criticisms of Shi’ism is being a Persian conspiracy to undermine the strength of the Arab Muslim ummah (Fuller, Francke: 19).

Thus in addition to characterizing Shi’a demands as sectarian and divisive to weaken the secular state, Saddam and his Ba’athists easily revived archaic notions of Shi’a loyalty to the Persians and its latest benefactor, post­revolution Iran. Instead of using its secular, nationalist manifesto to shape a state where all religious and ethnic groups take part in guiding it, the Iraqi Ba’ath party reflected pan­Arab notions of glorifying Arab cultures in which the role of Shi’ism and Shi’a individuals are denigrated or outright ignored, in turn reinforcing the same sectarianism which plagued the Middle East for centuries. “There was no talk of sectarianism in pre­2003 Iraq,” says Dr. Abbas Kadhim, “Shias who dared speak of sectarianism would have their tongues cut out,” aptly describing the reality of these decades in Iraq’s history while condemning the mistaken notion of sectarianism being sowed only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

While Saddam’s Iraq reflected mainly Shi’a persecution veiled behind secularism, there also exist examples where Shi’ism was openly lambasted and dealt with violently. Alongside closing the Shi’a religious institutions in the shrine cities of Karbala and Najaf, Saddam’s executions and kidnappings of individuals from renowned Shi’a families reflects the violent repression of Iraq’s Shi’a. Kidnappings reached their peak following the 1991 uprising where 96 members of the scholarly al­Hakim and 28 of the Bahr al­Ulum families were kidnapped and likely executed (Fuller, Francke: 99).

Similarly, following the 1991 uprising, state newspapers and publications were distributed which openly villainized the Shi’a as treacherous for their beliefs (Fuller, Francke: 104).

A similar response to Shi’a activism is currently present in Bahrain, another Shi’a­majority country ruled by the Kuwaiti Sunni descent al­Khalifa family who migrated to the country in the late 18th century and received legitimization from the British crown. Distinctly Shi’a since Abbasid rule, Bahrain was ruled by the Safavids for the entirety of the 17th century and became a power vacuum where several forces fought for power over the island, resulting in the al­Khalifa establishing its rule. The Shi’a formed such a vast majority at the time of the invasion that the al­Khalifa family invited tribes native to Saudi Arabia to further displace the Shi’a. A total of 313 Shi’a villages prior to the al­Khalifa invasion were eventually reduced to 50 by the time of Fuller and Francke’s study in 1999 (121). Not only have Bahrain’s Shi’a been internally displaced to one specific section of the island, they are barred from land ownership, the military, and supreme ministry offices (Rabi 2012: 207). It was only in 1928 when the Shi’a rebelled against a feudal system which required uncompensated labor without any guaranteed civil rights (Fuller, Francke: 122).

A collective memory of subjugation to the al­Khalifa in feudal Bahrain leaves the Shi’a widely calling for democratization, a trend later to be detailed among the Shi’a of Saudi Arabia. The earliest democratic movement is the Shabab al­Umma[6], established in the mid­1930s by both Bahrain’s Sunni and Shi’a populations. Shi’a activism in the early 1970s resulted in the country’s first parliamentary elections following independence from Britain in 1973, only to be dissolved by the al­Khalifas two years later for refusing to pass a law sponsored by the regime that “authorized arrest and imprisonment of up to three years without charge or trial for undefine ‘acts’ or ‘statements’ that could be construed to threaten the country’s internal or external security” (Fuller, Francke: 125).

Contemporary Bahraini demands include, at the least, a proper implementation of the 1973 constitution by reestablishing Bahrain’s parliament.

Democratization, however, is not in the interests of the al­Khalifa family. Following Bahrain’s discovery of oil in 1932, the state became independent of local merchant support resulting in a shift to greater authoritarianism, as observed in the dismissal of the 1973 parliament. The mid to late 20th century witnessed state recognition of Shi’a practices: permitting their practice of law as distinct from Sunnism, and allowing greater legal protection in order to appease Bahraini Shia demands and offer personal security to its largest labor force demographic in order to balance this shift to greater authoritarianism (Rabi: 208).

By acceding to the Shi’a these privileges, the al­Khalifas portray any further demands in a negative light.

Indeed, any demand for democratization is perceived by the state as a threat to the established order (Fuller, Francke: 119).

Two final examples serve to remind that at times, persecution of the Shi’a truly stems from the books. While Saddam in Iraq and the early al­Khalifa invaders found it useful to vilify the Shi’a on theological grounds to sustain their rule, some contemporary examples exist in which the Shi’a have been subject to violence and persecution with utmost regard to the rulings of historical Sunni theologians in upholding the heresy of Shi’ism. As a result, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world today with de jure discrimination of its Shi’a population. It is the only country where the Shi’a are legally considered non­Muslim through edicts of the Aal al­Sheikh. Such modern takfir[7] has been pronounced by Saudi scholars since 1927, and was reasserted by Council of Senior Scholars member ibn Jibrin in 1991 when he declared the disbelief of Shi’a Muslims, through which their murder cannot be held illegal (Fuller, Francke: 183).

De jure discrimination against the Shi’a, who primarily hail from the eastern region of al­Hasa8, is linked to the House of Saud’s connection with the Aal al­Sheikh which, since the establishment of Saudi rule, has maintained the House of Saud’s legitimacy to rule the country. When Abd al­Aziz, the House of Saud’s progenitor set out to conquer Arab lands in the early 19th century, the reformist ideology of Abd al­Wahhab assisted in justifying his previous raids as raids in the name of Islam. A 1744 pact between Abd al­Aziz and the descendants of Abd al­Wahhab allowed each family to legitimize the other in their expertise; the former would establish the state, and the latter would legitimize its rule through its religious credentials. This first Saudi state quickly collapsed however, and it was not until the fall of the Ottoman Empire that the second Saudi state was formed by Abd al­Aziz ibn Saud in the early 20th century (Crooke).

Following the 1913 defeat of the final Ottoman garrison in al­Hasa at Saudi hands, the Shi’a of the region complied with Saudi rule but quickly became subject to scholarly demands of their forced conversion or murder in the 1920s. Saudi rulers reined in these extreme voices, stopping short of genocide, but continued to ban all public Shi’a commemorations and institutions including mosques (Jones 2012: 138).

Anti­Shi’ism in Saudi quickly became far reaching: Sunni citizens are instructed not to eat meat slaughtered by the Shi’a, the Mutawwa’in (moral police) often harass the Shi’a in public, and keeping Shi’a literature in one’s home is considered a criminal act. Grade school curriculums are standardized to rebuke Shi’a beliefs and teach children from a young age, Sunni and Shi’a alike, that the Shi’a are a heretical group. (Fuller, Francke: 183­85)

The Shi’a in Saudi Arabia, like the Shi’a in Bahrain, have called for more freedom and reform of their country for decades. Politicization of the Shi’a in the 1950s and 1960s through employment in ARAMCO resulted in the 1979 protests defying the Saudi ban on Muharram processions in Qatif. These demonstrations spread from Qatif to other cities in al­Hasa until finally being restrained by the government (Jones: 141). Leaders of this uprising formed the Organization for the Islamic Revolution in the Arabian Peninsula (OIR) and adopted revolutionary tactics which pressured the Saudi government to accede to Shi’a demands to an extent, such as establishing the first modern hospital in Qatif in 1987. By the late 1980s however, the OIR recognized its revolutionary rhetoric would not produce fruitful results, and so shifted its focus to human rights and equal citizenship. Such demands reflect the trend of calls for democratization made by the Shi’a of Iraq and Bahrain.

In 1994 the Saudi regime invited OIR expats back to the country in hopes of reconciliation but were unable to meet many core demands made by the Shi’a which contradicted the state’s Wahhabi ideology, such as the freedom to publish and possess Shi’a literature, and the establishment of Shi’a mosques and seminaries (Fuller, Francke: 191).

Unlike the Shi’a of Iraq and Bahrain however, the Shi’a of Saudi Arabia hesitated to raise their voice and demands of democratization until recent decades. Those who demand democratization of Saudi Arabia today, as seen following the 2011­12 protests, become subject to the state’s brute force. Shi’a leader Sheikh Nimr Baqir al­Nimr’s January 2016 execution exemplifies how the Saudi state is at pains to conflate calls for democracy with terrorism.

Executing al­Nimr and three other Shi’a alongside dozens of al­Qaeda members reaffirms for Saudi nationals the “impartiality” of the government when punishing those who question its legitimacy. It also provides the foundation for ruling families intricately tied to Saudi, such as the al­Khalifas in Bahrain, to continue arresting Sunni and Shi’a activists alike under clauses in its constitution which criminalize ridicule or criticism of brotherly countries.

Finally comes Pakistan, which stands out among other examples of Shi’a persecution: while the previously examined countries all involve anti­Shi’ism arising from the state as part of an ideology or consolidation of Sunni power, the problem of Pakistan is that individuals ideologically opposed to Shi’ism exist at alarming rates who wish to see statewide takfir of the

Pakistani Shi’a. This segment of the Pakistani population organized itself under a political body, initially known as the Sipah­e­Sahaba (Army of Muhammad’s Companions). Established in 1985, this outfit is currently on the Interior Ministry’s list of banned terrorist organization and thus reorganizes itself under various names when campaigning: most recently it has identified as the Ahl al­Sunnat wal Jama’at (ASWJ) and Pakistan Rah­e­Haq Party (Path of Truth Party ­ Pakistan). Instead of taking action against its sectarian demands and divisive rhetoric however, the party and its demands have been mainstreamed by major political parties. The anti­Shia vote is essential in many constituencies, thus political parties often form alliances with extremists and permit them immunity from law enforcement agencies in return for votes. Even political parties such as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which is reputed for including both Sunni and Shi’a members among its upper echelons, have struck deals with SSP members. During the turbulent anti­Shi’a atmosphere of the 1990s, Benazir Bhutto’s PPP appointed the SSP’s Sheikh Hakim Ali as Minister of Fisheries in Punjab, and another SSP leader, Azam Tariq, was allowed immunity from law enforcement as it benefited Bhutto to counter Shi’a individuals from her own party native to Punjab (Grare 2013: 139).

After General Pervez Musharraf dismissed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup a decade later, he suspended the constitution and banned the SSP as a sectarian outfit involved in relentless anti­Shi’a violence throughout the late 1990s. To maintain popularity among this demographic however, he permitted Azam Tariq in 2002 to contest elections from prison as an independent candidate provided he support the regime (Kalia 2015).

Although Pakistan, while created for Muslims, was not intended by its creators for any one sect to use as a machine to propagate and impose its beliefs instead to manufacture a sectless political identity, violence was not unheard of; Pakistan’s first Shia­Sunni riots occurred in Punjab during the 1950s (Punjab Disturbances Court of Inquiry, 1954: 34).

A significant example, the Thehri, Khairpur massacre of 1963 in which 116 Shi’a Muslims were killed on the holy day Ashura serves to disprove notions that anti­Shi’a sentiment was imported from abroad, generally explained by Salafi thought. Salafi thought neither has a footing in Sindh, nor in the anti­Shi’a militant groups born in Punjab; rather all examples of anti­Shi’ism in Pakistan are attributed to the 19th century revivalist Indian Hanafi movement, the Deobandi movement. Literature of both the Deobandi and the more well­reputed as well as populous Barelvi movements are laden with anti­Shi’a rhetoric and even declarations of their disbelief[8].

Although these rulings were largely discarded for decades of Pakistan’s existence, the surge in organized anti­Shi’a movements during the 1980s General Zia­ul­Haq regime, which sought to establish a bulwark against growing Shi’a activism following the Iranian Revolution, greatly benefited from this vast corpus to demand statewide takfir of the Shi’a and mobilize violence. The policies of Zia, Bhutto, and Musharraf detailed above exemplify what has remained standard Pakistani policy with regard to anti­Shi’a outfits, both at the provincial and federal levels.

Two examples of anti­Shi’ism addressed in this paper reflect attempts to discriminate against majority Shi’a populations to consolidate power in one family and/or within a Sunni elite. In response to this, the Shi’a of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia understand themselves to be protesting for developments and propagation of values which transcend sectarian goals and are at pains to disassociate their movement from inward­looking activism.

The remaining two examples exhibit the intensity of theological opposition to the Shi’a, how such anti­Shi’ism as state ideology devastates Shi’a communities, and how in certain cases the state does not even need to advocate anti­Shi’ism; rather the population at large can organize itself in anti­Shi’a groups and wreak havoc. In such situations, state policy should be directed towards preventing the militarization of such ideology if the ideology itself cannot be erased. It is my hope that these examples highlight how suppression of the Shi’a is not only a result of unadulterated hatred of Shi’ism, but rather manifests itself differently in different situations, and that understanding these specifics will help policymakers solve the crisis of anti­Shi’ism in accordance to each situation.


Works Cited

Al­Tirmidhi, Abu Isa Muhammad. Jami’at Al­Tirmidhi. Vol. 5. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Sunnah. Web.

Buyukkara, M. Ali. “Al­Ma’mūn’s Choice of ‘Alī Al­Riḍā as His Heir.” Islamic Studies 41.3

(2002): 445­66. JSTOR. Web. 12 May 2016.

Crooke, Alastair. “You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in

Saudi Arabia.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Oct. 2014. Web.

Fuller, Graham E., and Rend Rahim Francke. The Arab Shiʼa: The Forgotten Muslims. New

York: St. Martin’s, 1999. Print.

Grare, Frédéric. “The Evolution of Sectarian Conflicts in Pakistan and the Ever­Changing Face of Islamic Violence.” CSAS South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies S. Asia: J. of S.

Asian Stud. 30.1 (2007): 127­43. Web.

Haider, Najam Iftikhar. The Origins of the Shīʻa: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in

Eighth­century Kūfa.  New York: Cambridge UP, 2011. Print.

Kalia, Ravi. Pakistan’s Political Labyrinths: Military, Society and Terror. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Khan, Ahmed Raza. Ahkam­e­Shariat. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Ala Hazrat. Web.

Madelung, Wilferd, Farhad Daftary, and Josef W. Meri. Culture and Memory in Medieval Islam:

Essays in Honour of Wilferd Madelung. London: I.B. Tauris, 2003.

Moghadam, Assaf. Militancy and Political Violence in Shiism: Trends and Patterns. Milton

Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Munir, Muhammad. Report of the Court of Inquiry Constituted under Punjab Act II of 1954 to

Enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953. Lahore: Supt., Govt. Print., Punjab, 1954.


Nasr, Seyyed Hossein., Hamid Dabashi, and Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr. Shiʻism: Doctrines,

Thought, and Spirituality. Albany: State U of New York, 1988. Print.

Safi, Omid. Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters. New York: HarperOne, 2009. Print.


[1] The worldwide community of Muslims

[2] Jami’at al­Tirmidhi, Hadith 2641

[3] “People of the Sunnah (Muhammad’s custom) and the Community”

[4] Bada’ is the belief in alteration of the divine will. Although originating in the Kaysaniyya it was later upheld by later Twelver Imams in justifying the selection of imams following succession crises (see Haider, Shi’i Islam: An

Introduction, p. 93).

[5] Ba’athism is a pan­Arab movement which seeks to create a unified Arab state with socialist economics, it has often been characterized as a fascist movement.

[6] “Youth of the Community”

[7] Scholarly accusations of entire groups apostatizing from what is considered to be true Islam. Scholarly assertions on the disbelief of Shi’ism has a historical place in Sunni literature as previously shown in heresiographical works. 8 Renamed ash­Sharqiyyah (Eastern Province) which is perceived by its Shi’a to be an example of cultural discrimination to erase Shi’a culture.

[8] Khan, Ahmed Raza. Ahkam­e­Shariat, Problem 85.


Shia News Wire #66

May 6th to 13th. 2016


Iraq witnessed a very bloody week as number of explosions and gunfire claimed life of at least 232 Iraqi Shia and wounded approximately 282 others.

On May 11th, four different explosions in busy Shia populated areas of North and West Kadhimiya, Anbar and Sadr City claimed 149 lives and wounded 227 people.

On May 12th, three gunmen armed with machine guns opened fire into the crowded Balad cafe and once police arrived at the scene, two of the attackers detonated their suicide vests killing 13 and wounding15 people.

Other explosions and gunfire in Baquba, Baghdad, Mahudiya, and Madain also killed and wounded many Iraqi Shia.

ISIS claimed responsibility of the most bombings.

Iraq is a Shia majority country led by Shia yet, this population are main target of terrorist groups who take advantage of the unrest and instability in this county.


May 12: Pakistani Frontier Constabulary (FC) forces Opened fire on peaceful protestors in Kurram Valley killing 4 Shia Pakistani. The protestors demanded government to lift the ban on the speakers who have been invited to the Shia ritual on Imam Hussein, Shia’s 3rd Imam, birthday celebration.

Kurram Tribal Agency is located in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan. Geographically, it covers the Kurram Valley region which is a valley in the northwestern part of Pakistan

The Frontier Constabulary (FC) is a paramilitary police force responsible for maintaining law and order in Pakistan.

Another Shia Pakistani, 40 year old Zaki40, was shot dead and two others were wounded in an armed attack in North Karach on May 7th.

Syed Khurram Zaki, the editor of political website Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP), was also shot dead in North Karachi while sat in a tea shop with two friends on May 8th.

Shia News Wire #65

April 29th to May 6th/ 2016


April 30th: On Saturday, ISIS set off a bomb killing 23 Shia pilgrims in Nahrawan. They had been walking to the northern Baghdad shrine of eighth-century Imam Moussa al-Kadhim . Although Interior Ministry put the death toll at 23 the Mayor estimated the number of killed  43 people. The Islamic State claimed it had killed “nearly 100” as it used a truck filled with explosives to target the pilgrims. The attack took place after authorities claimed securing the area with extra security forces.

5/1st/2016: In the Southern city of Samawa, ISIS carried out twin car suicide bombs killing at least 34 individuals. According to reports, about 75 people were injured as a result of these attacks. The cars were filled with explosives and detonated at midday. The first bomb went off at city center by a bus station, and the second one went off five minutes later about 400 meters from the first explosion at a small government building.  

May 2nd, 2016: Three bombs went off around Baghdad, Iraq killing 14 people including number of Shia pilgrims. The largest blast of the day, which was claimed by ISIS, killed 11 and wounded 30. The pilgrims had been heading toward the shrine of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of Prophet Mohammad who was killed in the 8th century. The two smaller blasts were unclaimed. The smaller blasts occurred because explosives planted on the ground in Tarmiya, 25km (15 miles) north of Baghdad, killed two and wounded six, while a roadside bomb in Khalisa, a town 30km (20 miles) south of the city, left one dead and two wounded.


Thursday May 3rd, 91 Shia members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were criminally charged before the Kaduna High Court and the Kaduna state government is pushing for them to all receive the death sentence.

The charges came after Nigerian Army was critiqued by international committees for attacking and killing hundreds of Shia Muslims and mass burying their bodies  in December 2015.


On May 2nd, Azerbaijani forces backed by police, destroyed a Shia Religious school name The Imam Zaman Seminary located in Nardaran, under the pretext of expanding the street. According to the witnesses the seminary is located at the end of the alley and does not need any  expansion. In recent years, Azerbaijan authorities have been limiting Shia Muslim activities although this country is  majority populated country.  Azerbaijanian Shia have been attacked during Muharram gatherings in past killing five people. More than 150 Shia activists including 18 clerics are in prisons of Azerbaijan.

Activists believe during the past few years the Wahhabists have grown notably in Azerbaijan, especially in areas of the country sharing borders with Russia. The Wahhabists during the past two decades, with funding from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, started activity in Azerbaijan, particularly northern regions of the country. It is believed  Wahhabi circles have more present in a set of Azeri regions like Zaqatala, Qusar, Baku the capital, Salyan and Neftchala. They also built a mosque in Baku.


Bahraini court has revoked the citizenship of an opposition leader, Ebrahim Karimi. Bahrain’s high criminal court also sentenced him to two years and a month in prison as well as a fine of 2,100 Bahraini dinars ($5,570) over accusation of “allegedly insulting Salman and Saudi Arabia”.

Hassan Alawi Shahrakani was also arrested again. Hassan is a religious poet who has been arrested multiple times in the past due to his pro-democracy activities.

State Department has critiqued Bahrani kingdom for not following through with its public announcement  plans to release Zainab Al-Khawaja and her baby. her as soon as possible,” he added.

Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a press conference held in the State Department’s headquarters that Foreign Minister of Bahrain Khalid Al Khalifa announced the government’s decision to release Al-Khawaja at a press conference with State Secretary Kerry on April 9th in Manama. However she is still in custody as of May 6th.

Summary of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2015 Report

Shia Rights Watch,شیعة رايتس ووتش

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has released its 2015 report on the human rights issues around the world. The report details the most serious of human rights problems in the world. Although SRW welcomes this report, we believe justice was not done to Shia Muslims in some country reports such as Azerbaijan.

Shia minority are citizen of most countries around the world, in many of which they face discrimination. Bureau of Democracy collected detailed report on most countries, yet failed to cover discrimination that Shia face on daily bases due to their religion. Even in secular, Muslims led societies where non-Muslims have freedom to practice their religion, Shia Muslims face multiple layers of human rights violations that are not reported. SRW believes such under representation is due to lack of enough awareness about this population. Therefore this NGO aims to increase awareness and educate governments and public about Shia minority by its own publications and adding to already published reports such as 2015 report done by Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Following report intends to summarize what the State Department reported and also add issues that was noted by SRW but was not reported by the State Department.


Bahraini Shia have seen continued discrimination in society through such as arrests, travel bans, and cases of revoked citizenship for a large number of political activists.

Women and children are often subjected to violence. Meanwhile, foreign and domestic workers are often treated inhumanely compared with people of more substantial jobs.

Prison guards were found beating up inmates, public humiliating them, depriving prisoners sleep, denying their right to prayer, and subjecting them to various forms of sexual harassment including the removal of clothing and the threat of rape.

Shia Muslims were found to be tortured more than any other group while in prison, according to the report.

Shia Muslims face high employment discrimination. This discrimination starts with lower educational opportunities as many Shia are denied scholarships as well as admittance into colleges and universities.

Also Shia are statistically more likely to get fired in comparison to their Sunni counterparts.

Shia Muslims are also denied government jobs based on their religion.

Citizenship is another place of high religious discrimination. There have been many reports of Sunnis living in Bahrain less than fifteen years and getting citizenship. On the other hand Shia Muslims living in Bahrain for over fifteen years, and non-Muslims living in Bahrain for over twenty-five years are often denied citizenship.

Religious education is also very limited. For a short time women were banned from entering mosques to prevent bombers from dressing up as women to do a surprise attack. In schools up until the age fourteen only the Sunni doctrine is taught, and is a required class for all students no matter their religion.


The Pakistani police force often fail to protect religious minorities in their country, including Shia. This often helps to account for the large number of suicide bombings that target Shia Muslims.

On February 13 militants attacked a Shia mosque in Peshawar’s Hayatabad district resulting in the deaths of twenty worshipers.

In January a suicide bomber claimed the lives of sixty-two Shia Muslims at a religious center in Shikarpur, Sindh. Hazara Shias have faced continuing attacks by violent extremist groups resulting in the loss of 146 of their lives to date. According to reports, assailants killed at least sixteen people each year in anti-Hazara Shia attacks each year.

On July 6th, gunmen killed two Hazara Muslims as well as a police officer in front of a passport office in Quetta.

On July 17th, a suicide bomber attempting to enter a Hazara neighborhood in Quetta blew himself up, killing two people and on July 28th, gunmen on a motorcycle killed two Hazaras in Quetta. Members of the Hazara ethnic minority, who are Shia, continue to face discrimination and threats of violence in Quetta, Baluchistan. According to press reports and other sources, they were unable to move freely outside of Quetta’s two Hazara-populated enclaves. The targeting of Hazara is dangerous to all Pakistani Shia as authorities confined all Shia religious processions to Hazara enclaves; this means non-Hazara are likely to get hurt or killed in attacks against this group.

Lej was one group responsible for several anti-Shia attack: this includes a bombing on a Shia Muharram procession in Jacobabad, Sindh on October 23 resulting in the deaths of twenty-seven people and another attack on October 22, 2016 when LeJ bombed a mosque and killed eleven Shia Muslims in a rural Kacchi district of Baluchistan.

Saudi Arabia

Many of the anti-Shia attacks in Saudi Arabia have been carried out by ISIS (or Daesh). Two such attacks occurred on May 22 and 29th of 2015 when suicide bombers carried out attacks against Shia worshippers at mosques in Dammam and Qatif resulting in the deaths of twenty-five people and the wounding of several others.

August 6, 2015, a suicide bomber killed fifteen people at a security services’ mosque in Abha. On October 16, 2015 a gunman opened fire outside a Shia hussainia, or congregation hall, in the suburb of Qatif, killing five and injuring several more.

On October 26, a suicide bomber killed two persons at a Shia mosque in Najran. ISIS has claimed responsibility for four attacks on Shia mosques.

Anti-Shia sentiment in Saudi Arabia is not only due to ISIS; in fact government run courts have also been found to discriminate unfairly against Shia Muslims numerous times. Back in September and October a group of Shia Muslims including Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher were given the death sentence by the Saudi Supreme Court for claiming unlawful treatment by authorities including sleep deprivation and torture.

On October 2016 Sheikh Nimr-al Nimr was sentenced to death on charges of inciting terrorism, meeting with wanted criminals, interfering in the affairs of other countries, and attacking security personnel during arrest. However, according to reports he had only peacefully spoke against the regime. He was not given a transparent arrest or trial as he was prohibited from having a lawyer or seeing any evidence that was used against him. Meanwhile, his nephew was given the death sentence for crimes he had committed as a minor. The punishments given by the Saudi governments are often much too extreme for the “crimes” they coincide with; for example, in November 2014 the Khobar Criminal Court sentenced human rights activist Mekhlef al-Shammary to two years in prison and 200 lashes simply for commenting on twitter that he supported Shia-Sunni reconciliation and because he attended a Shia religious gathering.


The Republic of Azerbaijan has displayed a lack of tolerance for any criticism or freedom of speech. Dozens of activists in the area of human rights, politics, journalists, bloggers, and even participants in religious events have been arrested and detained.

The area of Nadaran, Baku has been under special pressure as it has been blockaded off from the rest of the city and has been deprived of electricity and power.

In 2015, nine Shia were killed and thirty-five were arrested.

In November, the police killed four people during a daytime raid at the north part of the capital, Baku.

Several outspoken members of the community were arrested, as well. Since then, there have been ongoing cycles of assault against the Shia of Azerbaijan.


According to State Department, Iraq faces severe human rights problems as Da’esh(ISIS) committed the overwhelming number of serious human rights abuses, including attacks against civilians, especially Shia.

ISIS members committed acts of violence on a mass scale, including killing by suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, execution-style shootings, public beheading, and other forms of executions.

ISIS also engaged in kidnapping, rape, enslavement, forced marriage, sexual violence, committing such acts against civilians from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds, including Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Christians, and members of other religious and ethnic groups, as well as religious pilgrims.

This group frequently employed suicide attacks and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices . Some attacks targeted government buildings or checkpoints staffed by security forces, while others targeted civilians.


This year in Indonesia 300 of the Shia who were displaced from their homes in 2012 are still living on the outskirts of the community. Shia Muslims are often subjected to societal discrimination including violence.


Shia Rights Watch hopes State Government and human rights NGOs use mentioned information and report to build practical policies to end human rights violations toward all, in this case Shia Muslims. Reports without actions to follow will not improve the quality of life of and experience for any citizen and government.


Incidents of Anti-Shiism in April, 2016

Shia Rights Watch,شیعة رايتس ووتش

Month of April had at least 553 deaths; most of which took place in Shia communities of Iraq. Iraq has been on top of the violation chart against Shia Muslims for 2015 and evidence thus far predicts same for the year 2016. After Iraq, Syrian and Pakistani Shia lives were lost the most. Unfortunately, there are no clear records of the number of wounded individuals in some of the countries due to limitation of access. Shia Muslims also faced unlawful arrests and lifelong imprisonment sentences in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Azerbaijan. Other violations noted include anti-Shia protests in Indonesia, Fatwa (religious statement) against this population in Malaysia, the forced surrender of passports in India and the banning of Friday prayer in Nigeria.

Shia Rights Watch_Antishiism in April 2016


This report will analyze the data compiled on Shia deaths, injuries, and arrests that occurred between April 1st and April 30th, 2016. The data for this report was gathered from a variety of different sources. The most well-known incidents of anti-Shiism were retrieved and reported to Shia Rights Watch by eyewitnesses. Each incident is thoroughly evaluated for both authenticity and relevance. For an incident to be included in this report it has to show clear intent to target Shia Muslims on the basis of religious beliefs. The subsequent sections will present and analyze the data gathered by Shia Rights Watch for April.

Where have Shia Muslims been targeted?

In April, Shia Muslims were victims in many countries however this report details violations in: Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Nigeria, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and Malaysia. There were a total of 553 Shia deaths, dozens of injuries, four life sentences and thirteen people imprisoned this month.


Nearly fifty-nine anti-Shia attacks took place in Shia populated cities and neighborhoods of Iraq killing 534 people in the month of April. Baghdad in particular has been the most dangerous place for Shia Muslims as it continues to have the most deaths and injuries of every Iraqi city. Killings and attacks were in the form of gunfire, bombs, and suicide explosions. After Baghdad, Iraqi Shia in Madain, Basra, Nasiriya, Mahmudiya, Baquba, Samarra, Najaf and Karbala were attacked the most.

The presence of ISIS and unstable political system adds to the vulnerability of Shia Muslims living in Iraq.

Shia Rights Watch_Wounded in April 2016


Nigerian security agents prevent Shia Muslims from attending Friday prayers in Katsina and Kebbi. This rule was started Friday April 1, 2016 which prohibits Shia Muslims from  holding Friday prayer in these towns.

Update on December 2015 mass Shia killing:

Approximately four months passed since the killing of more than 1000 of Nigerian Shia in December 2015 by state army. According to activists approximately 730 went missing since the incident. Based on our findings, during the early attack to the Shia Mosque in December and recently confirmed by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the army brutally killed more than 400 Shia men, women, and children and buried bodies in a mass grave to prevent further investigation by families. More mass graves are recovered, worrying families who are still awaiting for their missing family member to come back.

Nigerian army has been trying to cover up the evidences. Local Shia stressed that a contingent of soldiers had been deployed to keep guard at the site of the mass grave in an effort to prevent the uncovering of the hundreds of bodies buried there.

After the attack the military sealed off the areas around Zakzaky’s compound, the Hussainiyya and other locations. They took bodies away, removed rubble, washed bloodstains and removed bullets and spent cartridge from the streets.

Witnesses saw piles of bodies outside the morgue of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria. Latter 191 corpses were transferred from the Nigerian Army Depot in Zaria to a burial site in the Mando area of Kaduna, a further 156 corpses were taken from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria to the same burial site.

According to local activists, the burial in Kaduna was based on a court order by the state government. The depressing fact that the army killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in a forty-eight hour time-frame clearly states that this action was based on some official order resulting in a substantial loss of life at the hands of the military.

Shia Rights Watch_killed in April 2016


Shia Muslims continue to face violations by authorities in Bahrain.

On April 30th, Bahraini authorities arrested 35 Shia Bahraini from Karbabad. There yet to be any explanations for the arrest.

Also in this month, Ali Abdulghani, a young Bahraini Shia man, died on April 4, 2016 due to his injuries he received on March 26th, 2016 after being run over by the police in the city of Manama during an anti-government protest On March 31st, the police supposedly stormed his aunt’s house to arrest him, but he fled.

The Bahraini regime also detained Shia cleric Mohammed al-Mansi, who works as a leader of the Islamic Clerics council. The regime used the excuse that he held prayers without the permission of the Al Khalifa regime in order to arrest him. The cleric has been known for speaking out against the destruction of forty-three Shia mosques by the Manama regime. Before his sentencing he was subjected to a 48 hour interrogation.

Moreover, Bahraini court has sentenced eight people to life in jail after convicting them of “terrorism”. Another five people were jailed on 27th of April with similar accusations. It is important to note that Bahrain charges pro-democracy advocates as terrorists and most of them are Shia.



A group of Wahhabis protested in front of a Shia private property as they were holding a ritual in Bangil. The protestors threatened the Shia with racial slurs and demanded cancelation of the religious ritual taking place. According to an activist volunteer, police had to protect the participants and prevent the crowd from entering the private property.

‘Bangil’ is the name of the region and city in East Java, Indonesia which consists of eleven rural district and four villages. Wahhabis are influential in East Java and since the year 2000 they have been responsible for many murders, burned homes, and displaced Shiite Muslims in Sampang.



On April 1, 2016, Indian authorities in the district of Lucknow told Shia cleric, Kalbe Jawad,   he must hand in his passport within the following ten days. In a statement on the issue by Jawad, he says, “A revenge is being taken against me as I have been raising my voice against anomalies committed by the district administration in the Hussainabad Trust”.

Indian Shia have faced violations in the past as the government used tear gas to interrupt their rituals in 2015 and asked them to remove their banners from advertisement boards on streets.


Three Shia Muslims were shot by terrorists of Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ) near Shafiq Mor area of Karachi on Friday April 8th, 2016. The three victims whose names were Hashim (40 years old), Ali Sajjad (27 years old, and Shamim Rizvi (30 years old), were returning from Friday prayers at Shah Najaf Imambargah in Bafarzone when suspects intercepted them.

Hashim and Ali died instantly and Shamim joined them later on when he died from his injuries in a nearby hospital. It is being speculated that this attack was in response to members of ISIS recently being killed in combat, suggesting these two terrorist groups have close ties.

Also, on April 20th, 2016 a religious scholar of the Shia School of Thought named Allama Imdad Hussan Jafri was slaughtered in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Unknown armed terrorists illegally entered the scholar’s home and slaughtered him to death.

Pakistani Shia have lost valuable members of their community due to their Shia faith and the government has yet to take any action to protect them.


Saudi Arabia

Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoun and Abdullah al-Zaher wait to be executed after being given the death sentence. The victims were accused of participating in pro-democracy protests back in 2011 and 2012. Accourding to activists, the inmates were not appointed lawyers and forced to confess under torture where they had been forced to sign blank papers on which their “crimes” were later written down.

Ali and Dawoud were 17 and Abdullah was 15 at the time of their arrest. The three men are currently being held in Dammam Mabahith Prison.

Also, on Monday April 23rd, Saudi Arabia approved of the death sentence for Shia activist Yusof al-Mosheykhas, in the city of Awwamiyah in the eastern region of Qatif



In Lankaran, Azerbaijan, large numbers of Shia leaders were arrested unfairly. Police raided the homes of clerics and activists, including Karbalayi Qismat, Syed Nazem and Seyed Waqar, taking them into custody, according to reports by the Caucasus Cultural Center.  Shia Muslims make up 85% of the country, yet are still extremely discriminated against.



Recently, Abdullah Din, a well-known Malaysian scholar, suggested forbidding marriage between Shia and non-Shia Malaysians despite the fact that these populations intermarried throughout their history and coexisted in harmony. This anti-Shia scholar also stated “I hope the religious departments and mufti from all states will issue a clear edict on whether it is allowed for Muslims to consume food served by Shiites [Shia], including whether animals slaughtered by Shiites are halal and so on.”

Anti- Shia clerics and scholars have freedom to spread hateful messages against Shia Muslims in Malaysia, yet they express acceptance toward other minority groups. Malaysian Shia have been banned from publishing their books and keeping any Shia publications in public places.


On Monday April 25th, 2016 many people were killed via car bomb near the revered Shia shrine of Sayyida Zeinab in the town of Al-Diyabiyah, which is a common place for Shia to visit on religious pilgrimages. As many as fifteen people were killed and eighty were transported to a nearby hospital.

Syrian Shia have been slaughtered, killed and violated against by numerous anti-Shia groups in Syria including ISIS. Unfortunately many of the violations are not reported due to limited coverage by media and access by human rights NGOs.



Anti-Shiism is spreading and on the rise in many countries. It is up to the international community whether organizations or just regular people to oust the prejudice and misinformation when the governments of these countries cannot bring themselves to do so. Shia Rights Watch condemns the acts committed against Shia Muslims around the world, and urges the authorities to take action and protect this minority in their homelands.

Shia Rights Watch believes Anti-Shiism is a growing trend that will continue to gain notoriety until the international community addresses the issue.

UN Complaint