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International Day for Shia Rights #612ShiaDay


Shia Rights Watch Launches International Day of Shia Rights Campaign

Washington, D.C. – June 4, 2015– In memory of the June 12, 2014 attack on Camp Speicher in Iraq, Shia Rights Watch has declared June 12th the International Day of Shia Rights. The International Day of Shia Rights was created in hopes of generating greater awareness of the struggles Shia Muslims around the world currently face. The focus of the 2015 campaign is ending the illegal detainment of the 550 Bahraini minors who were arrested due to involvement in peaceful protests.

Despite Bahrain being a signatory of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), they have consistently violated numerous articles in both documents. Bahrain has incarcerated, tortured, and even killed numerous underage minors in attempts of subduing peaceful protests and anti-regime gatherings.

Shia Rights Watch intends to raise awareness of the events in Bahrain, as well as of minority oppression worldwide. In preparation for International Day of Shia Rights volunteers will be handing out roses

in Farragut Square June 10th from 1:00-2:15

and in

Dupont Circle June 11th from 4:15-5:30.

On June 12th we will launch the social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter,  and Instagram and we encourage everyone to join in the discussion using #612ShiaDay.

Massacres and Maltreatment: Incidents of AntiShiism in May 2015

Incidents of Anti-Shiism in May 2015Incident_Against_Shia_Muslim

There has been a decrease in both the number of Shia killed during attacks and those that were arrested or abducted. The amount of Shia injured as a result of incidents has increased from last month, but still continues on a downward trend. There were over 300 deaths and more than 450 injuries this month. These figures result in an average of almost 11 deaths per day, and nearly 16 injured Shia every day. Violence against Shia is more focused on a handful of countries this month, and is now confirmed as present in Somalia in 2015. Anti-Shiism is a growing trend that will continue to gain notoriety until the international community addresses the issue.Incident_Against_Shia_Muslim_1


This report will analyze the data compiled on Shia deaths, injuries, and arrests that occurred between May 1st and May 29th. 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 March.

Where have Shia Muslims been targeted?

                April saw Shia Muslims targeted in 7 different countries: Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Bahrain, and Somalia. It is possible that Shias from other countries were targeted when they went to Iraq to visit the holy shrine of Musa Kadhim, but there has been no explicit reporting of such. In total there were 308 deaths, 452 injuries, and one abduction that we are aware of.


The violence against Shia Muslims in Iraq continues to be the actions of non-state actors persecuting Shia for their beliefs. This month there were Shia pilgrims from around the world visiting the shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim, and this shrine is located in the Northwestern part of Baghdad. In previous reports, Baghdad was the center of violence in an effort from Daesh to distract the security and coalition forces so they could maintain their control of the Anbar Province. However, this month the Shia pilgrims were the targets, and Iraq deployed a massive force to protect the pilgrims. It is unclear whether the increased security forces or the defeat of Daesh around Iraq is responsible for this having the lowest violence figures so far this year.Shia_Rights_Watch_Method_KilledDjos_Deatths

The deaths and injuries against Shia in Iraq result from bombings, shootings, mortar shells, and a combination of the three. There were at least 228 deaths and 312 injuries in Iraq this month as a direct product of the Shia Genocide. The number of deaths in Iraq is a decrease from 298 of the previous month, and the injuries decreased negligibly from 307 to 305. More mass graves were uncovered in Tikrit, and the number of deceased was around 470 people. Most of those executed were Shia, but all were killed by Daesh when they held the city. There was also one kidnapping in Iraq, and unfortunately the Shia person from Basra was subsequently killed.


There were seven incidents of anti-Shiism in Pakistan this month that we are aware of, and they both occurred throughout the month. The attackers continue to use either bombs or guns to carry out their plots, and bombs lead both the casualty figures. There were at least 54 Shia deaths and 47 injuries in Pakistan this month. As was foreseeable from the last report, it appears that the shock of the deadly attacks on school children may have worn off as anti-Shiism seems to be making a resurgence in Pakistan. However, the government has taken a stand on hate speech by sentencing a man to five years in jail for referring to Shia as infidels when he was leading prayer.

Saudi Arabia

All eyes were on Saudi Arabia this month as a Daesh suicide bomber detonated in a Shia mosques in Qatif and Dammam. 25 Shias were killed from this incident, and anywhere from 80 to 100 more were injured. There were protests from the Shia community around the world that claim this attack happened because the Saudi government does not want to protect Shias. It could have been a deliberate failure of intelligence or just an accidental lapse in it. However, the King of Saudi Arabia has declared that those who carried out the attack and their sympathizers will be destroyed. Whether the claim is substantive or not will have to be seen. Saudi Arabia plans to execute political prisoner Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, but there are global appeals to prevent the execution. Shia Rights Watch urges the Saudi Arabian government to halt the execution, and release political prisoners who merely ask for democracy.Shia_Rights_Watch_Method_Killed_2


On the same day that all were distracted in Saudi Arabia, Daesh launched another bombing on a Shia mosque in Yemen. It could have ended more like the incident in Saudi Arabia, or even like the previous mosque bombings in Yemen. Luckily only 13 Shias were injured in the blast, but the violence needs to end.


There were two incidents of anti-Shiism that Shia Rights Watch is aware of in Nigeria this month, but more information is always welcome. One was a letter the soon-to-be President of Nigeria in which the author warned of keeping Shias close or in the government in general. The author claims to not align with Boko Haram, but concludes his letter with, “If your promise is to tackle insecurity is real you must cut down the Shia.” The other incident was an attempt on the life of the Sheikh Zakzaky who is the leader of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria. A mob of people with weapons approached his home twice within a 24 hour period, but were repelled by guards. Zakzaky has resided at that home for 20 years, and has never had trouble with the neighborhood before, and claims this was orchestrated by the security forces.



Bahrain regime forces have been otherwise tame this month as we do not have any recorded arrests against Shias. However, they did confiscate speakers, banners, and flags that the protesters use in front of the Al-Sadeq Mosque West of Manama. On May 11, a court in Bahrain extended Nabeel Rajab’s arbitrary detention by 15 days, and his six month sentence was upheld by an appeals court on May 14. Nabeel Rajab’s crime was peacefully protesting and using social media to call for a more representative government. A Shia man, Khalid Abdul Aal, was sentenced to one year in prison for insulting the government using Twitter. Bahrain Cleric, Jalal al-Sharqi denounced Shias claiming that they do not believe in Allah, are Jewish, and deserve no mercy. The Bahraini government has done nothing to dissuade these anti-Shia messages, and must do so in order to curb sectarian hatred.


The Mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Hussein, has vowed to shut down any humanitarian Non-Governmental Organization that is spreading Shia Islam. He said that, “Somalia is a Sunni nation, and don’t need false Shia ideology. As a Mogadishu Mayor, I will not allow Shia ideology to spread and will fight at every cost.” This is the first instance of anti-Shiism that Shia Rights Watch has recorded for Somalia in 2015.


In February, 31 Shia Hazaras were abducted from a bus in Afghanistan, and last month Shia Rights Watch reported that three of them were found dead. Just as hope was looking dim, 19 Hazaras from the kidnapping were released on May 11. There were rumors that this was in exchange for 22 detainees, but the Afghan government denies these claims.Shia_Rights_Watch_Shia_Injured_3


The amount of Shia killed by bombs this month is about the same, but the amount of Shias wounded from bombs has increased 23 percent from last month. Terrorists began using mortars again, and those have not been used since March (most recent). The deaths from shootings decreased this month, and this month there were injuries sustained from gunfire. There have been no beheadings or stabbings of Shia this month. The utilization of a combination of methods to kill Shia has increased slightly from 60 to 78.


More governments and government officials are taking anti-Shia stances, and it is a worrying trend. Citizens look to the government for leadership, and these attitudes can have a significant impact on the populace. The events in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia could be demonstrating that incidents in those countries will increase. Thankfully, some of those who were abducted in Afghanistan are being returned to their families, and there were no reported beheadings this month. Hopefully we will continue to see trends of decreased arbitrary arrests, sentences, and violence against Shia as time continues.


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Dammam_Saudi Arabia

Second Attack to Shia Mosque at Friday Prayer in Saudi Arabia

May 29th, 2015

One week after the deadly suicide bombing in Qatif that left 21 people dead, including two children, an alleged suicide attack has struck outside a Shia mosque in Dammam, eastern Saudi Arabia, during Friday prayers on 29 May.

According to Saudi interior ministry four people were killed and many injured after a car exploded in a parking lot near the Imam al-Hussein mosque in Dammam. The bomber detonated his explosives after being stopped by security guards. The alleged suicide bomber was disguised as a woman and attempted to blow himself up inside the women’s section of the mosque.

In March 2011, Qatif was the center of demonstrations against what minority including Shia Muslim perceived as decades of discrimination and religious and political repression from the Wahabbi kingdom. Since then, many have been killed and couple hundreds imprisoned including leaders such as Shikh Nimr who is expecting excursion any day.

There are more than 2.7 million Shia in Saudi Arabia, most living in al-Ahsa and al-Qatif districts in the country’s eastern province, which also contains the bulk of the kingdom’s oil.

Bahrain to Imprison Khalid Abdul Aal

May 26th, 2015

Bahraini kingdom sentenced Khalid Abdul Aal, former MP, to one year in jail after criticizing tweet back in April 2014. The former lawmaker said that the sentence proves lack of freedom of speech in the country.

Bahrain’s anti Shia strategies has resulted in many death, imprisonments and unrest in this monarchy.

Three Shooting in Quetta Claimed Number of Shia lives

May 22, 2015

Shootings in Quetta resulted in four deaths and eight injuries. A gunman opened fire at a coffee shop killing one and injuring one. Another incident involved two motorcyclers opening fire to line of doctor patience’s killing two and injuring four.  Later on, unidentified armed men opened fire at two separate buildings on Jinnah Road in minutes apart, leaving three people dead and nine others injured. Shia of Hazara community have always been target of hatred killings and attacks.

Gunman Killed one in Pakistan

May 22, 2015

A gunman attacked traveling family in their car killing one and wounding two in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Police confirmed that the targeted victims belonged to the minority Shia community who have been under attack in this country. No group has claimed the responsibility yet and most of such cases are not investigated by the government.

Iraq discovered Mass Grave in Tikrit

Iraq Mass grave

On Thursday May 28th, Iraqi officials from the Ministry of Health announced that they have exhumed over 470 bodies from a mass grave. This mass grave was found in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which was previously held by ISIS. Bodies found in this grave are believed to be victims of the Camp Speicher Massacre. This massacre occurred on June 12, 2014 when ISIS militants killed over 1,700 cadets from the Iraqi Air Force. Many of the cadets who were killed were young Shia men. The Ministry of Health said that the first round of names of the victims will be released next week. Although many bodies have been exhumed in this mass grave, hundreds are reported to remain missing.

Hussein Conference

Shia Rights Watch was proud to have presence in the conference of Imam Hussein this year in Chicago, the conference was organized by the Universal Muslim Association of America, which hold the largest Shia event in northern America.

This three day conference was organized to present the message of peace and solidarity towards oppressed Shia all around the world.  Shia Muslims always have shown the true meaning of faith and humanity toward all minorities, respecting others and bringing the message of Islam in its true meaning of Peace. Presence of human rights activists, scholars and NGOs in this conference brought together great networking tools to be able work hand in hand toward understanding the religion and presenting it in right way.

Many activist, writers and scholars met Shia Rights Watch’s director, Mustafa Akhwand, showing their support to the message of peace and non-violence. “It is very important that the west know why Shia Muslims are a minority with majority violent against them,” said Mustafa Akhwand. Shia Muslims have always campaigned to bring peace and justice to the region without hesitating to support, help and live with people of other faith.

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Attack to Shia Mosque in Saudi Arabia on Friday Prayer

Shia Rights Watch is appalled at the deadly suicide bombing that occurred in the town of Al-Qudaih in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qatif region at a Shia mosque which killed 20 people and injured 120 others. This bombing which occurred during Friday prayers is one of the worst acts of violence committed against Shia in 2015. In an already under privileged area in the country, this attack only further oppresses Shia. Periodic attacks coupled with systematic discrimination have been devastating for the Shia community in the eastern province.

Shia Rights Watch requests that the Saudi government do the utmost to ensure that nothing like this happens again. While the Saudi government has been conducting an investigation into the causes of this attack, it is important that both the proximate and distal causes are addressed. In addition to the investigation, restorative measures need to be sought in order to better address the divisions between Sunnis and Shia in Saudi Arabia.

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Attack to Shia Mosque in Saudi Arabia on Friday Prayer

An alleged suicide  bomber has detonated explosives in a Shia mosque in Shia populated area of Qatif claimed 22 lives and injured many today.
A suicide bomb exploded inside the mosque as Shia Muslims celebrated birth anniversary of their 3rd Imam and performed Friday Prayer. So far as many as 22 are reported killed and number of wounded is not announced yet. Officials believe many are in critical condition.
Saudi Shia are minorities that face many violations in this country and now local targeted bombings are threatening this community.
Shia Rights Watch urges Saudi forces to investigate the attack and protect this minority in the country.

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Attack to Shia at Commemorations in Iraq

Attack to Shia pilgrims in Iraq claimed 16 lives and wounded 50 others. Suicide bomber attacked Shia Muslims as they commemorated the death of their 7th Imam, near Baghdad.

Also in eastern Baghdad, another two pilgrims were killed and nine wounded when a roadside bomb exploded.

A third explosion was in the town of Bab al-Sham where at least three mortars targeted Shia pilgrims, killing four and wounding at least 12 people.

Fourth bombing in Mashahidah, north of Baghdad, killed at least three pilgrims and wounded eight.

ISIS has claimed some of the explosions. Shia Muslims have been target of many explosions before and after ISIS in Iraq.

Bus Carrying Shia Ismaili Attacked in Pakistan

In an attack to a bus carrying about 70 Shia Ismaili passengers, tens were killed and more than ten seriously wounded in Pakistan.

Ismaili National Council, a community group that represents the Ismaili branch of Shia in Pakistan, placed the toll to at least 41 killed but some sources report up to 47 death.

According to passengers, the bus was attacked by masked armed men near Safura Goth area. Six terrorists came on three motorcycles; they entered the bus and began firing indiscriminately. All those killed and injured were hit by the 9mm pistols.

Anti-Shia attacks have been increasing in recent years in Karachi and also in the southwestern city of Quetta, the northwestern area of Parachinar and the far northeastern town of Gilgit.  Historically, Shia Twelvers have been targeted in Pakistan and now Shia Ismaili feel the threat of insecurity in this country. Although Pakistani minorities have faced many violations throughout history, this country is not listed among Countries of Particular Concerns under International Freedom Act. Shia Rights Watch has been pressuring the US government to add Pakistan to this list.

Afghan Hazara in Captive 

Many Afghan families are still waiting for their held captive family members.  ISIS abducted 31 men belonging to ethnic Hazara community three month ago in the Zabul area. Recently, 19 were released and the rest are still in captive.

There have been a number of incidents of kidnapping in various parts of Afghanistan, according to government officials. Hazara communities are the main targets of the violations in this country.

Bus Carrying Shia Ismaili Attacked in Pakistan

In an attack to a bus carrying about 70 Shia Ismaili passengers tens were killed and more than ten seriously wounded in Pakistan.
Ismaili National Council, a community group that represents the Ismaili branch of Shia in Pakistan, placed the toll at least 41 killed but some sources reported up to 47 death.
According to passengers the bus was attacked by masked armed men near Safura Goth area. Six terrorists came on three motorcycles; they entered the bus and began firing indiscriminately. They used 9mm pistols and all those killed and injured were hit by the 9mm pistols.
Anti-Shia attacks have been increasing in recent years in Karachi and also in the southwestern city of Quetta, the northwestern area of Parachinar and the far northeastern town of Gilgit.  Historically Shia Twelvers have been targeted in Pakistan and now Shia Ismaili feel the threat of insecurity in this country. Although Pakistani minorities have faced many violations throughout the history this country is not listed among Countries of Particular Concerns under International Freedom Act. Shia Rights Watch have been pressuring US government to add Pakistan to this list

Sheikh al- Nimr Scheduled for Death Sentence Again!

Shia Rights Watch is concerned about Sheikh Nimr al Nimr as this organization was informed Saudi authorities have prevented his family and friends from visiting him. According Sheikh’s inner circle, family and friends can no longer visit him.  Same sources informed SRW that the fear of implementing death sentence is growing among Sheikh’s followers.

Sheikh Nimr was attacked and arrested while on route to his home in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qatif region on July 8, 2012. The Sheik was subsequently charged with disturbing the country’s security, giving anti-government speeches, and defending political prisoners. These charges have earned the Sheik a death sentence which has sparked outrage among the international community. He was scheduled to be sentences on August 12th but it was postponed by the Saudi authorities. However some Saudi sources claim Sheikh is scheduled for implementation of the death sentence on the anniversary of the death of former Interior Minister, Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, one of the princes of the kingdom, which encountered his death the sixteenth of June.

SRW believes execution of Sheikh Nimr could have dangerous consequences as he is a very well-known peace maker who has advocated freedom, equality and reform within the country. This NGO invites and urges international committees to step in and investigate the death sentence and also to pressure Saudi kingdom to free political prisoners as freedom of speech and religion is all human’s basic right.

UN Complaint