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Shia Weekly News #28

This was one of the deadliest weeks for Shia Muslims. From August 7-14, 136 Shia Muslims were killed, 329 were injured, 2 were arrested, and 10 were abducted. The overwhelming majority of  deaths and injuries came from Iraq while the majority of the arrests occurred in Bahrain.

Iraq

Over the last seven days, ISIS has perpetuated some of the deadliest attacks against Shia Muslims this year. In a series of bombings and shootings against Shia civilians 133 were left dead and 314 were left injured. Over this time period, daily improvised explosive devices detonated in Shia neighborhoods in Madeen, Baghdad, Baquba, and Hawr Rajab. These attacks would lead to the loss of scores of lives. The deadliest attack of the week came on August 13th when a refrigerated truck filled with explosives detonated in the busy Jamila marketplace in Baghdad’s Sadr City district. This ISIS inspired attack in a Shia neighborhood led to the deaths of at least 68 and the injury of at least 200. Details of this event are still unfolding but Shia Rights Watch will provide details as they become available.

Bahrain

In Bahrain there were  arrests of two prominent Shia government opposition figures. On August 8th, Sheikh Salman Maitham who is the Chairman of the Committee for Religious Freedom on the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory was arrested by security forces. He would be later charged with inciting hatred against the regime. In a separate incident, Ibrahim Sharif, the former head of the National Democratic Action Society was arrested soon after being freed from jail. After being jailed for his role in the demonstrations in 2011, he was re-arrested after giving a speech that was deemed by the state as inciting hatred. Shia Rights Watch condemns the arrest of these two figures and requests their immediate release.

Syria

On August 10th the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there were 4 deaths and 20 injuries as a result of thousands of rockets that were launched into the Shia towns of Fuaa and Kafraya by Syrian rebels.

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan 10 Hazara Shia were abducted in the Ghazni province as they were travelling towards the provincial capital. The Hazara community has been the focus of numerous kidnappings this year alone and this incident shows that this trend has not slowed. Shia Rights Watch continues to call for the Afghan and Pakistani governments to work to better protect Hazara Shia in their countries.

ISIS detonated bomb in Baghdad killed over 76 Shia Muslim

Shia Rights Watch

On August 13, 2015 ISIS displayed yet again their disregard for Shia Muslims as they orchestrated one of the deadliest attacks against this group in Baghdad this year. Early Thursday morning a refrigerated truck filled with explosives detonated in the Jamila market in the Shia neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq. This attack occurred in the early morning as the market was packed with traders buying supplies for their stores. The numbers of casualties is still rising but according to Reuters 76 were killed and 212 are injured.

ISIS, who has taken responsibility for this attack, claimed that they attacked this area because they believed it was a “stronghold” for the Shia militias they are fighting in northern Iraq. Their supposed attack against the “Infidels” This attack further shows that ISIS has embarked on a campaign to systematically eliminate Shia Muslims through various death campaigns. While the bombing in Jamila has been extremely deadly, it is by no means a unique event. Bombings such as this have occurred on an almost deadly basis in Shia neighborhoods throughout Baghdad. Conditions imposed on Shia communities in this city have severely hindered the free movement of residents of this city.

Details about the bombing at Jamila are developing and any further updates can be found both on our website and on our social media platforms.

Shia Weekly News #27

Shia Muslims have continued to be persecuted in the first week of August, through two car bombs in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and a series of arrests made on the primarily Shia island of Bahrain. Through these two incidents it is evident that Shia Muslims still face repression from aggressors. This minority group continues to live under threat of radical extremists pushing for their demise.

At least 47 illegally detained in Bahrain after Sitra Bombing

During the week of July 27th to August 2nd, Bahraini security forces have arbitrarily detained 47 Shia Muslims without arrest warrants. These detentions were made following a bomb explosion in Sitra that left two Bahraini policemen dead and six wounded, this is the deadliest attack in Bahrain in recent months. It was reported that 28 were arrested on the small island of Sitra and that 8 have already been released including two children. Bahraini security forces were reported to have executed 36 house raids across three villages. Bahrain has recently cracked down on civilians peacefully protesting the government.

Pair of car bombings in Shia neighborhood of Baghdad kill 10 and wound 23

Two separate car bombs detonated in primarily Shia residential neighborhoods located in Baghdad, Iraq on August 5th 2015. The first bomb exploded on a crowded street in the northeastern district of Sadr City, the attack left 6 people dead and 12 wounded. The second explosion happened in the northern al-Husseiniya district that killed 4 while leaving 11 wounded. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the blasts but this follows a trend of increased attacks by the terrorist organization ISIS.

Shia Rights Watch releases Responsible Parties report

Shia Rights Watch recently released a report entitled ‘Who is Responsible?’ drawing attention to the persecution of Shia Muslims by governmental and non-governmental actors. The report reveals that a large portion of attacks against Shia were perpetrated by terrorist organizations such as al-Nursa Front, the Taliban, and ISIS.  State actors such as the Bahraini security forces have also participated in anti-Shia behavior through the arbitrary incarcerations of peaceful protesters. Saudi authorities have also been accused of actions that resulted in the death and illegal detainment of Shia. To read more about these cases go to SRW’s full report on those responsible for 2015 violations here.

Who is Responsible?

Mapping Responsible Parties of Anti-Shia Violence from January – July 2015

Since the beginning of 2015, Shia Rights Watch has collected data on incidences of anti-shi’ism around the world. By our records and reports there have been a total of 2,959 Shia killed and 3,662 wounded in various bombings, attacks, and shootings in the seven months beginning January 1st and going until the end of July. Additional incidences of mosques being vandalized or demolished, citizenships being revoked, hate speeches, employment discriminati
on, and abductions have also been reported.

Of these events, various parties have declared responsibility for attacks that have claimed a total of 1,209 lives and left 1,281 wounded. Governments, as well as terror groups, have been responsible for many attacks and were named as responsible parties in instances of citizenship removal, illegal incarcerations, and violent suppression of peaceful attacks.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed thirty of the attacks that have occurred this year and are responsible for over  1,016 of the deaths recorded to date.

The group has claimed two of the largest attacks of 2015: the March 20th mosque attacks in Sana’a Yemen which resulted in 142 deaths with 350 wounded, and the July 18 bombing of Ramadan celebrations in Diyala, Iraq which resulted in the death of 120 men, women, and children, leaving 130 more wounded. The terrorist group also claimed responsibility for the Kuwait suicide bombings that took place at a Shia mosque as worshippers were gathered for prayer. This attack left 27 dead and 227 wounded. Moreover, on May 28th a mass grave was discovered in territory former controlled by ISIS. Over 470, mostly Shia, bodies were discovered.

More recently, there have been five bombings in late July that many officials are attributing to ISIS, although nobody from the organization has released a statement confirming their involvement yet. Between July 10 and July 25 there were 4 bombing attacks in Shia neighborhoods in Iraq, as well as a suicide bombing at a crowded swimming pool in Northern Iraq that targeted the Shia Turkmen minority. Combined these attacks left 81 dead and 180 wounded. The method and location of attacks is consistent with previous ISIS attacks and due to the recentness of the events it is too early to rule out ISIS involvement.

In recent months it has become clear that ISIS is one of the primary sources of chaos in the region. However, the Taliban is still very active in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since January 1st the terrorist group has claimed six attacks. The January 9th attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi resulted in 7 deaths followed by the February 13th attack in Peshwar that left 19 dead and 60 wounded. On June 10th the group abducted nine Shia in Damarda Afghanistan and forty-five days later on July 25th they kidnapped eighteen more Hazara Shia from Baghlan Afghanistan. Since the second abduction five victims have been released and negotiators are still working to get the rest home safely. While these attacks are heinous in nature the worst of the Taliban attacks occurred on June 20th as they beheaded six Shia Hazaras in Ajristan, Afghanistan. The New York Times suggests that in light of the growing media attention on ISIS’s attacks, the Taliban is plotting equally shocking attacks in order to gain recognition and media coverage as well.

While incidences of hate speech, discrimination, and forced denouncement of faith have been reported against the Egyptian, Indonesian, Nigerian, Saudi Arabian, and Pakistani governments, the Kingdom of Bahrain is by far the government currently carrying out the most attacks against Shia. 153 Shia protestors have been arrests including Sheikh Ali Salman who was arrested June 16 for tweeting about regime change, opposition leader Majeed Milad who was arrested July 2, and prominent opposition member Ibrahim Sharif who was arrested July 12. By March 11th there had been 155 recorded instances of mistreated Shia detainees in government custody – a number we expect to have increased since. These arrests all come after the 15 October 2014 death sentence of Shia Sheikh Nimr in Saudi Arabia, whose appeal was denied by Saudi Arabia authorities on March of 2015.

Moreover, The Bahraini government has stripped 72 people of their right to citizenship, 50 of which were confirmed members of the opposition.  Security forces have used violence to suppress at least three large protests resulting in one child being injured due to tear gas exposure as well as a thirteen year old boy being shot in the face by regime forces. Numerous home raids have occurred without cause and upwards of 46 Shia have been beaten. Prominent Bahraini Cleric Jalal al-Sharqi made a public statement on May 12th that denounced Shi’ism by accusing Shias of not believing in Allah and calling them Jewish and underserving of mercy.

A full list of groups taking responsibility for attacks includes: Al-Nusra Front (1), ASJ-TTP (1), Ahlus Sunnah wal Jammah (2), Bahraini government (18), Bahraini civilian militia (1), Egyptian government (2), Indonesian government (1), ISIS (30), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (1), Judallah (2), Lashkar-e-Jhaqui (1), Madagascar Police (1), Nigerian citizen (1), Nigerian Military (1), Punjab government in Pakistan (1), Saudi Arabian Authorities (2), Saudi-led coalition (10, Sipah-e-Sahaba (4), Somolian Mayor (1), Extremist Militia connected to ISIS (1), Tabliban (6), United Arab Emirates government (1).  This is a list to date of reported and confirmed instances of anti-shi’ism where there is a party clearly responsible for the attack. There are still countless unreported, unconfirmed, or unclaimed attacks that have occurred in the first seven months of 2015.

Date Responsible Party details Dead Wounded Arrests
28-Jul Al-Nusra Front Shooting at shrine in Damascus 2
7-Feb ASJ-TTP Habib Hussain was ambushed and killed 1
6-Jul ASWJ Quetta, Pakistan – open fire on 3 Hazara Shia 3 2
7-Jul ASWJ Quetta, Pakistan – Syed Hashim (Hazara) gunned down walking home 1
5-Feb Bahraini Government 72 people stripped of citizenship, 50 confirmed from the Shia Opposition Party
12-Jun Bahraini Government 57 Shia jailed, stripped of nationality, given sentences of 3 years to life 57
16-Jun Bahraini Government Sheikh Ali Salman sentenced to 4 years for tweeting about regime change 1
2-Jul Bahraini Government Majeed Milad, senior opposition, arrested because of accusations against the gov’t 1
11-Jul Bahraini Government Protest Suppression – tear gas
12-Jul Bahraini Government Arrest opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif 1
13-Jul Bahraini Government conducted raids in the districts of Karanah and al-Diraz
16-Feb Bahraini Civilian Militia Sitra, Bahrain one was arrested for insulting the king 1
12-Jan Bahraini Government 45 people beaten
30-Jan Bahraini Government Regime forces shot 13 year old boy in the face
13-Feb Bahraini Government Protest Suppression including 3 home invasions 48 20
17-Feb Bahraini Government Protest Suppression: Child received head injury after exposure to tear gas 1
18-Feb Bahraini Government 1 beaten by government forces
11-Mar Bahraini Government Numerous home raids resulted in 15 arrests 15
11-Mar Bahraini Government Between Jan 1 and March 11 reports of 155 mistreated detainees
22-Apr Bahraini Government 91 protesters arrested 91
12-May Bahraini Government Jalal al-Sharqi denounced Shia saying they do not believe in Allah, are Jewish, and deserve no mercy
14-May Bahraini Government Upheld Nabeel Rajab’s 6 month sentence for insulting public institutions
15-May Dr. Abdussamael Uma Doctor in Ayuba Nigeria wrote a letter the Nigerian President warning against Shia
30-Apr Egyptian Government Shut down kindergarten in Nile Delta Province for ‘promoting Shia ideology’
12-May Egyptian Government Physician sentence to 6 months for blasphemy, attempting to cause sectarian violence, and threatening national security because practicing Shia
11-Mar Indonesia Government 34 Shia prisoners forced to recant faith
18-Jan ISIS Bomb in Tuz, Iraq targeting Shia 13 25
8-Feb ISIS ISIS demolishes Shia shrine in Shifaa, Iraq
23-Feb ISIS Bombings destroyed 12 Shia homes in Monsul, Iraq
28-Feb ISIS Balad Ruz bombing 11 50
28-Feb ISIS Sabaa Al Bour mortar shells 3
9-Mar ISIS Larkana, Pakistan – vandalized on internal and external buildings
14-Mar ISIS 27+ bodies discovered in a mass grave near Shia town of Basheer, Iraq 27+
20-Mar ISIS Bomb went off in Sanaa Yemen. 3 mosques targeted 142 350
29-Mar ISIS beheaded 8 with the aid of child soldi3ers 8
6-Apr ISIS 2 bodies found in Zabul, Afghanistan 2
8-May ISIS Bombing in Balad Ruz 18 41
8-May ISIS Car bomb detonated  a worshippers left Imam Hussein mosque in Kanaan Iraq 4 18
8-May ISIS Bombing targeting commercial buildings in Hamamiyat neighborhood on Taji, Iraq 2 8
12-May ISIS Shia pilgrims targeted throughout the day in Baghdad 15 38
14-May ISIS Multiple car bombs around Baghdad targeting Shia 15 42
22-May ISIS Bomb at mosque in Qatif, Saudi Arabia as prayers were read 21 80+
22-May ISIS Targets 2 Yemeni mosques 13+
24-May ISIS Iraqi soldier executed then hung from bridge 1
28-May ISIS In former ISIS territory a mass grave with 470 (mostly Shia) bodies 470
29-May ISIS Immam Hussein Mosque in Damman, Saudi Arabia. Bomber dressed as woman 4 10
1-Jun ISIS Suicide bomber attacks police base in Anbar, Iraq 45 33
7-Jun ISIS Idlib, Syria – Air Strike killed 14 + 15 year old girls` 2 10
15-Jun ISIS Car bomb in Qahira, Baghdad 10 20
17-Jun ISIS 4 car bombs targeting Zaydi mosques during evening prayer in Sana’a, Yemen 31
20-Jun ISIS Car bomb in Sana’a, Yemen at Qabat al-Mandi mosque 2 6
26-Jun ISIS Kuwait suicide bombing at mosque 27 227
8-Jul ISIS Car bomb outside mosque in Sana’a, Yemen 1 5
18-Jul ISIS Khan Bani Saad, Iraq bombings at a market in Diyala celebrating end of Ramadan 120 130
20-Jul ISIS Attack bombing in mosque in Sana’a, Yemen 5 7
29-Jul ISIS IED attack on Ismali Mosque in Sana’a Yemen 4 6
16-May ISIS & Taliban Conflict Shia police officer shot in Karachi, Pakistan 1
22-Jul  ISIS blamed al-Shaab car bomb in Iraq 8 22
10-Jul ISIS blamed Series of bombs in Baghdad 14 41
12-Jul ISIS blamed Series of bombs in Baghdad 29 81
22-Jul ISIS blamed Al-Bayaa car bomb in Iraq 18 36
25-Jul ISIS blamed Suicide bombers attack busy pool in Northern Iraq targeting Shia Turkmen minority 12
7-Apr Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Beheaded 1 in Afghanistan with aid from Taliban 1
18-Feb Jundallah Suicide bomb in Rawalpindi, Pakistan 2 7
30-Jan Jundullah Bombing in Islamabad 60 50
7-Jun Lashkar-e-Jhaqvi Shooting in Quelta, Pakistan 5
20-Apr Madagascar Police Arrested 3 including the head of a Shia mosque for no apparent reason 3
25-Jul Nigeria military Military Personnel involved in killing 34 peaceful Shia Protestors 34
2-Mar Punjab Government Arrested Shia leader Allama Ghulam Raza in Lahore Pakistan
21-Apr Saudi Authorities 1 dead in shooting in Qatif, Saudi Arabia 1
15-Jul Saudi Authorities Khobar, Saudi Arabia – Shia man arrested and lashed for hosting weekly prayer meeting 1
30-Mar Saudi-led Coalition Airstike in Mazraq, Hajja Governorate – no apparent military target in the area 29 41
7-Jan Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting in Karachi, Pakistan 3
31-Jan Sipah-e-Sahaba 70 year old Shia man in Pakistan shot 1
18-Feb Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting in Karachi Pakistan 2
11-Mar Sipah-e-Sahaba Shooting at the Khan Hotel in Kotla Jam, Pakistan 3
5-May Somalia Mayor Mayor of Mogadishu denounced Shi’ism and swore to fight the spread at any cost
10-Feb Extremist Militia connected to ISIS Bombing in Baghdad 14 43
9-Jan Taliban Rawalpindi, Pakistan bombing – attack on a Mosque 7
13-Feb Taliban Peshwar, Pakistan – bombing and shooting 19 60
2-Apr Taliban Damarda, Afghanistan 9 Shia abducted
20-Apr Taliban Beheaded 6 Shia Hazaras in Ajristan, Afghanistan 6
10-Jun Taliban Police officer gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan 1
25-Jul Taliban 18 Hazra Shias kidnapped in Baghlan, Afghanistan. Released 5 already
13-Mar UAE Government Deporting 62 Lebanese Shia

Incidents of Anti-Shiism in July 2015

Incidents of anti-Shiism in July 2015

There was a significant increase in both the number of Shia killed and those that were injured during attacks. There was a decrease in the total amount of Shia arrested or abducted, but there were abductions this month as opposed to last month. There were over 450 deaths and more than 550 injuries this month. These figures result in an average of more than 14 deaths per day, and almost 19 injured Shia every day. Violence against Shia is present in eight countries this month, and all of the countries have been in previous reports at some point.

The fact that the countries in this report are repeat offenders can illustrate some interesting possibilities. One option is that anti-Shiism is not spreading much outside the borders of countries that were listed in previous Shia Rights Watch Monthly anti-Shiism reports. If that is the case, then it is possible that anti-Shiism is festering within these countries which will make the lives of Shia in these countries worse. There is also the risk of countries unknowingly exporting anti-Shiism to other countries similar to that of an infectious disease. Anti-Shiism is a growing trend that will continue to gain notoriety until the international community addresses the issue.

Overview

This report will analyze the data compiled on Shia deaths, injuries, and arrests that occurred between July 1st and July 31st. The data for this report was gathered from a variety of different sources. The most well-known incidents of anti-Shiism were retrieved from stories that are 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 July.

Where have Shia Muslims been targeted?Shia Rights Wacth Incidents against Shia Muslim in July

                July saw Shia Muslims targeted in 8 different countries: Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Bahrain, Syria, and Afghanistan. In total there were 454 deaths, 588 injuries, 11 arrests, and 18 abductions that we are aware of. Although this report will focus primarily on the violent incidents, Shia Rights Watch would like to take this time to congratulate the Bahrain Government for listening to the voice of their people and the international community with the pardoning of Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab. This is an important step forward in giving Shias their natural rights, and will hopefully lead to the release and/or pardoning of Sheikh Ali Salman. In the wake of the Kuwait terror attack, Sunni and Shia prayed together during Eid and built unity instead of furthering sectarian tensions. This is a great example of a government taking active steps to defuse tense situations. 

 

Iraq

Iraq continues to top the charts for violence against Shia Muslims, and this could be a result of the large Shia population so close to the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Baghdad is usually the stage for attacks, because it is right near Anbar province which ISIL uses as a base. The population of Baghdad used to be a more mixed population, but the neighborhoods have become increasingly divided along sectarian lines. This gives ISIL the opportunity for a network of allies within the city to carry out their bombings of markets nearly daily.

The worst attack this month was orchestrated by ISIL, and occurred in the Shia town Khan Bani Saad which is north of Baghdad. On July 17th, the terrorists drove a car into a busy market and detonated it. The attack killed 120 people and injured at least 130. The one bombing accounted for more than a quarter of the Shia deaths in Iraq this month and 23 percent of the Shia injuries. The Iraqi Army, Special Forces, and militias continue to fight ISIL, but the effort to destroy them in Anbar province will be difficult with the mainly Shia forces liberating Sunni neighborhoods.Shia Rights Wacth Incidents against Shia Muslim in July-1

Yemen

There were five incidents of anti-Shiism in Yemen this month, and four of them were bombings carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Shia mosques. The final incident was a result of the continued Saudi Arabian led coalition’s air strikes against civilian populations in Yemen. If these air strikes were targeting the Ansarallah movement (the Houthis), then they were extremely far off their mark.

Pakistan

There were five incidents of anti-Shiism in Pakistan this month that we are aware of which killed eight Shia and injured two more. Although they utilized both explosives and guns to attack Shias, the only bomb attack failed to hurt anyone besides the guard who stopped the suicide bomber at the entrance to the neighborhood. The amount of Shia killed and injured in Pakistan is nearly identical to last month’s, and it seems that Pakistan has taken a step in the right direction in protecting the Shia minority from Takfiri terrorists.

Shia Rights Watch_Shia Death in July

Nigeria

There was one incident of anti-Shiism that Shia Rights Watch is aware of in Nigeria this month, but more information is always welcome. There are reports of military personnel killing 34 peaceful Shia protestors during a pro-Palestinian rally on al-Quds Day. The reports were unclear on how the protestors were killed, but the personnel must be held accountable for their actions. One might wonder why the Nigerian military was in Zaria when the President of Nigeria has declared that he would destroy Boko Haram more than 700 kilometers to the East.

Syria

The other force trying to take hold of Syria besides ISIL is Al Nusra Front, and they attempted to gain control of one of the few villages in Idlib Province that they do not already control. Al Nusra failed to take the villages of Fuaa and Kafraya with ground troops, and resorted to rocket and mortar attacks. This resulted in the death of at least seven Shia villagers and hundreds more injured from the hundreds of artillery shells. The Syrian Civil War has continued for years, and seems it will continue until one side gains an edge against the other two. In the meantime, civilians are caught in the crossfire and the humanitarian situation becomes worse every day. 

 

Shia Rights Watch_Shia Injured in JulyAfghanistan

On July 25th, the more Shia Hazaras were abducted at gunpoint when their car was stopped in Baglan province, and all 18 Shias were taken. Five of those kidnapped have been returned to their families, and the Afghan authorities are negotiating for the release of the remaining Shias. This could be the work of the Taliban or the ISIL branch in Afghanistan. ISIL has gained members from the Taliban and Al Qaeda, because the groups were not extreme enough. However, the Taliban leadership is not in control of all of their members and branches so the possibility of this being a Taliban or ISIL kidnapping is likely.

Bahrain

Bahrain regime forces have been otherwise tame this month compared to last month, because there were 10 Shias arrested as opposed to the 58 in June. There were 6 incidents of anti-Shiism this month in Bahrain, and they came in the form of arresting people of the opposition party, breaking up protests with tear gas, as well as arbitrary arrests. One of the cases is that of Mustafa Mohammed who just graduated from high school in Bahrain with a near perfect grade point average. He was stopped by security forces outside of his grandfather’s home, and charged with illegal gathering. He was going to go to school to practice medicine, but then he was sentenced to six months in prison. Thankfully the sentence was reduced to three months, but he should not be in jail to begin with. The Bahraini government must take steps to make peace with its Shia community in order to curb sectarian hatred.

 

Saudi Arabia

There was one incident of anti-Shiism in Saudi Arabia this month, and it was the arrest of a man for holding weekly prayers in his home. Saudi Arabia claims to protect the right of Muslims to pray in public, but the Salafi sect of Islam declares Shias non-Muslims or apostates. Even if the Saudis were correct, they claim to protect the right of non-Muslims to worship in private. Yet Shia Muslims are forced to pray in private, and treated as criminals for expressing their freedom of religion. Shia Rights Watch condemns this blatant violation of freedom of religion, and urges Saudi Arabian religious officials and police to practice what they tell the international community they do.

Shia Rights Watch_Shia Deaths over time

Tactics

The amount of Shia killed by bombs this month has increased by at least 35 percent, and the amount of Shias wounded from bombs has increased 14 percent from last month. Terrorists began using mortars and rockets again, and those have not been used since May (most recent). The deaths from shootings doubled this month compared to June, and this month there were injuries sustained from gunfire. Terrorists began abducting the Shia Hazaras again which hasn’t been seen since April. The utilization of a combination of methods to kill Shia has nearly doubled from 32 to 60. The Saudi Air Force and Gulf Coalition continue their air strikes in Yemen which led to more civilian bloodshed. Although the reported numbers are less than last month’s, it is important to remember that it is difficult to get information in or out of the country in its current state.

Conclusion

It is refreshing to see governments like Kuwait and Bahrain taking positive steps forward, but Bahrain still has work to do. The Saudi Coalition have gained a foothold in Aden which will allow humanitarian aid to flow into Yemen, but it is unclear if the violence against civilians will decrease over time. Turkey has joined the coalition forces to help defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and hopefully this will lead to a swift defeat of ISIL. Only time will tell if the steps being taken now will help or hurt the human rights situation for Shias around the world.

Shia News Wire_#26

July 26, 2015

Wave of attacks targeting Shia in Baghdad kills 5 and wound 15

This week Baghdad, Iraq has witnessed a wave of attacks that have left 5 Shia dead and 15 wounded. The first wave of attacks occurred in the Iraqi city of Baghdad on Monday, July 27th. Sources say that two were killed and nine were wounded when a locally-made improvised explosive device went off at a market place in the al-Sadr area of eastern Baghdad. Two civilians were later gunned down by an unidentified assailant in the Shia neighborhood of al-Bayyaa. A third attack occurred later that day in the Al-Nahrawan district, when a separate IED detonated, killing 1 and wounding 6. These attacks have supported the upward trend of bombings across Baghdad with a third IED exploding later in the week at Mahmoudiya wounding 6 on July 30th.

Prominent Shia cleric arrested in India

On the 27th a Shia cleric named Maulana Kalbe Jawwad was arrested after him and his followers held a demonstration in Kaiserbagh India, protesting the misuse of Shia Waqf properties. The protest demanded the removal of Waseem Rizvi, Chairman of Shia Waqf Board. Rizvi has been accused of allegedly participating in corruption practices. Shia Rights Watch urges local authorities to respect his right to freely express himself and release them.

Shia U.S. Embassy worker shot and killed in Islamabad, Pakistan

On Monday the 27th an unidentified assailant entered Iqbal Baig’s home in Islamabad, Pakistan. The intruder shot and killed Baig, an Ismaili minority working at the US embassy at the Drug Enforcement Agency. Motives behind the attack are still unclear. Shia Rights Watch urges Pakistani security officials and U.S. embassy officials conduct investigations into this shooting and identify the assailant.

 Nusra Front kills two Shia Pilgrims in Damascus

On Tuesday the 28th, a member of al-Nursa shot and killed two Shia in the Syrian city of Damascus. The two Shia were visiting a shrine when they were attacked. This comes less than a week after militants from the group fired hundreds of rockets into a village in the Idlib province, killing seven and injuring dozens.

Shia cleric ordered to leave Saudi after he received death threats

Hujjat al-Islam Shaykh Abdul-Karim al-Hubayl, a Shia cleric, was ordered to leave the country by Saudi Arabia on Wednesday the 29th. Saudi security forces told Hujjat that they were unable to protect his life. Shia clerics and scholars have recently been receiving threats across the gulf country by militant groups.

VBIED explodes outside of Ismaili Shia mosque in Sana’a  

Lastly, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was used to attack an Ismaili mosque in the Yemeni capital of Yemen. ISIS has claimed responsibility for this explosion that claimed the lives 4 and wounded 6. This is the third mosque attack in Yemen during the month of July.

 

Shia News Wire_#25

July 17-23

Shia Rights Watch joins NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief

This week Shia Rights Watch joined the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief in NEW YORK. This UN affiliated organization is a sub-committee of the Conference on NGOs (CoNGO) and serves as a platform for NGOs to draw attention to issues relating to the freedoms of religious and non-religious groups. Holding its meetings next door to the United Nations, the members of this committee have been able to influence international politics through their remarkable lobbying and advocacy work.

In addition to joining the committee this week, a representative of Shia Rights Watch attended the committee’s monthly meeting.

Shia Rights Watch is grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the committee and is excited work with the other member organizations.

 

18 July 2015: One of the deadliest attacks on civilians in 10 years

On Friday July 17th 120 Shia Muslims were killed and approximately 130 wounded as a car bomb exploded in the predominantly Shia town of Khan Bani Saad, located in the Diyala province north of Baghdad. ISIS claimed responsibility saying that a member drove a car filled with three tons of explosives into the crowd consisting of men, women, and children celebrating the end of Ramadan. Although ISIS no longer has a strong hold on the province of Diyala, it still has influence in the area and a representative from the Iraqi government said that a current priority of the government was stabilizing the region. Shia Rights Watch continues to condemn the continued violence of ISIS and repeats calls for the Iraqi security forces to adequately protect Shia communities around the country.

20 July 2015: Another attack on a Yemeni Mosque

ISIS has claim responsibility for yet another attack near a Shia mosque. At least five were killed and seven more injured as car bomb exploded in the neighborhood of al-Jeraf near a Shia mosque. This is the second Shia mosque bombing by ISIS this month in Sana’a. This past year has witnessed an increase in mosque bombings as ISIS has increased its presence in the gulf nation. Shia Rights Watch condemns and calls for the immediate cessation of these attacks.

21 July 2015: Twenty-Two Killed in Three Separate Attacks

A series of attacks in Baghdad on July 21st left 22 Shia dead. The first attack occurred in the Zafarniyah district as a car bomb was detonated near a local gas stations. Three civilians were killed and twelve more wounded. The second attack resulted in five civilian deaths with sixteen wounded as a bomb went off in the al-Jadidah neighborhood of Baghdad. Finally, late Tuesday evening a third bomb went off in a Shia neighborhood in New Baghdad. Located in front of a busy clothing store the event resulted in fourteen deaths and thirty injuries. While bombing occur roughly daily around the city, this series of bombings were unexpected and were devastating to the Shia community in the city.

22 July 2015: Violence in Iraq continues as missiles increase casualties in Syria

Tuesday began with Al Nusra militants launching hundreds of rockets into the Shia villages of Fuaa and Kafraya located in the Idlib province of Syria. Current estimates say that the attack has left seven villagers dead and hundreds more wounded, with high levels of physical destruction as well. The villages attacked are part of the area left under the protection of the Syrian army (supported by Hezbollah). Al-Nusra says that the missile attack is a retaliation for Hezbollah’s operations at the Lebanon border.

In Iraq two separate car bomb attacks in Baghdad left a combined twenty-six dead and fifty-eight wounded. The first attack took place in the south west Baghdad neighborhood al-Bayaa. As the bomb was detonated in a crowded market eighteen were killed and thirty-six were wounded. The second attack took place later in the day in the northeastern neighborhood of al-Shaab, again in a market, leaving eight dead and twelve wounded.

July 23-24: Continued violence occurs in Iraq

Between July 23rd and July 24th three bombings killed 12 people and injured 12 others in Iraq. The first bombing was an IED which targeted the al-Madaen area of Baghdad which is predominately Shia. In this attack one civilian was killed and five others were injured. Later that day, a second IED was detonated in a Shia neighborhood in Baghdad which killed seven and injured two. On Friday July 24th, an IED was detonated in the Shia town of Taji which killed two civilians and injured seven others. As the month comes to a close, militant groups such as ISIS have ramped up attacks against Shia communities. Attacks in Iraq this month have taken hundreds of Shia lives and Shia Rights Watch urges that actions are taken to stop these senseless deaths.

 

State Department Eid Al-Fitr reception

Shia Rights Watch attended the State Department’s Eid al Fitr Reception this evening. Featured guests included the Imam of largest mosque in North America President “Islamic Center of America” Sayed Hassan Qazvini, producer of the Burka Avenger cartoon series, UMAA Representative, leaders of NGO’s and representative of countries embassy. The Deputy Secretary Antony J. Blinken  and Secretary Kerry welcomed everyone with message of peace and coexistence.

 

International Shia Day

Declaring an International Day was a decision Shia Rights Watch made after realizing the amount of misinformation and lack of awareness that the international community has in regards to Shia communities. The practical significance of the day revolved around raising public and governmental awareness of the human rights violations that occur against Shia Muslims, which go relatively unrecognized by international groups and organizations. Like other International Days, such as International Women’s Day, International Day for Shia Rights allows for an inclusive conversation to occur about the issues affecting that specific group. Moreover, the International Day for Shia Rights allowed for the continued promotion for governmental support in favor of the adoption of H.Res.105 and S.Res.69.

Shia Muslim man sentenced to lashing for holding prayer in home

On Tuesday July 14th a Saudi Shia man was arrested in the city of Khobar after learning about a weekly prayer meeting he held in his home. Zuhair Busaleh who is a retired airline ticketing agent was sentenced to two months in jail and 60 lashes. Busaleh remains free pending an appeal which will be considered on August 2nd.

In an interview with Agency French Press, Busaleh said that he held this prayer meeting in his home because Khobar has no Shia mosques. Khobar, which is majority Sunni, does not have religious facilities for Shia Muslims so they are left to either worship privately or go to Dammam which is the neighboring city. Dammam was the scene of a terrorist attack against Shia Muslims on May 29th as a suicide bomber detonated himself at the Imam Hussein mosque killing 25.

Busaleh had previously requested and had been granted permission by the prince in charge of the city to have prayer meetings at his home but other officials in the city had ordered him to stop. Zuhair Busaleh is now planning to take up his case with the prince.

Shia Rights Watch condemns the arrest and charges placed against Zuhair Busaleh as a violation of his religious freedom. To prohibit Busaleh’s worship in his home contradicts article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”. This right includes the freedom to manifest one’s belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

To ensure the religious freedom of Zuhair Busaleh, Shia Rights Watch urges the Saudi government to drop the charges against him and work with him and other community leaders to facilitate the construction of a Shia mosque in the Khobar.

UN Complaint