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Shia News Wire_#15

December 12, 2014

Islamic State executes Shia militiamen north of Baghdad

On Sunday, militants from the Islamic State executed 12 Shia militiamen in a rural village north of Baghdad. The executions occurred in the village of Tal al-Thahab which is near the town of Balad which is roughly 50 miles north of Baghdad. These executions occurred at the head of an offensive by Shia militias and Iraqi security forces against Islamic State forces in the country. The offensive drove Islamic State fighters from their base in the Tal al-Thahab police stations but the militants regrouped and surrounded the police station trapping dozens of both security forces and militants inside. Although the siege on the police station would later be broken by security forces, militants from the Islamic State would end up killing at 12 Shia militiamen. In addition to those killed, are 10 Shia militiamen who were reported missing as well.

Shia killed an another injured in two separate attacks in Pakistan

A Shia man was kidnapped, tortured, and later killed in the Lower Kurrum Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Area in Pakistan last week. Jabir Hussain of Parachinar, Pakistan was kidnapped by militants from the Taliban and ASWJ. After killing Hussain, the militants disposed of his body outside before it was recovered by authorities. Shia communities in the Lower Kurrum Agency are demanding that the group ASWJ be included in the Pakistani security force offensive to rid the tribal areas of extremist groups which has been called Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Last week it was also reported that militants from ASWJ and Lashkar-e-jhangvi attacked yet another Shia doctor. Dr. Baqar Raza was attacked and injured in the North Nazimabad section of Karachi’s central district after being targeted by these groups. This attack comes in the midst of a coordinated campaign by extremist groups in the country to murder Shia doctors.

Nine Shia fighters killed in Suicide car bomb

On Wednesday, an explosive-laden vehicle drove into a gathering of Shia militia volunteers before detonating and killing nine people and injuring 13 others. This attack occurred in a small town roughly 12 miles south of the city of Tikrit. Although no group has yet t claim responsibility for the attack, people note that fighting between government forces and militants from the Islamic State have increased in the past few days. Government forces and Shia militias have been able to push Islamic State forces out of many of their previously held positions in the eastern part of the country; they still hold notable cities like Tikrit and Mosul in the north.

Shia trader killed in Peshawar

Last Friday, Siraj Hussain who is a Shia merchant from the Gulbahar area of Pakistan was shot and killed by armed gunmen. Hussain who was in Peshwar shopping with his friends, was approached by armed men on a motorcycle who proceeded to open fire. Hussain was rushed to the Lady Reading Hospital but he would succumb to his gunshot wounds. The militants were able to flee the scene of the crime and have yet to be apprehended by Pakistani security forces.

Terrorists assassinate a Shia, and injure another in Karachi

Last Friday militants ambushed two Shia civilians in Karachi; killing one and critically injuring the other. Ghulam Hussain and Jafar were entering a car in the Korangi’s Zaman Town area of Karachi when militants from either ASWJ or LeJ attacked them. Witnesses say that militants arrived at the scene and began sporadically firing at the car before fleeing the scene. Ghulam Hussain was killed and Jafar Ali would be rushed to the hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment for his sustained gunshot injuries. Shia parties in the city condemned this attack as this is the third such attack in the last 10 days. The Shia community in Pakistan is calling for Pakistani Security forces to do more to protect the lives of their community members.

ISIS fire targeting Shia pilgrims kill schoolgirl

On Tuesday ISIS militants launching an attack on Shia pilgrims on the Kirkuk-Tuz Khurmatu road in Iraq hit a bus carrying schoolgirls with a rocket. This attack killed a schoolgirl and wounded two others. The Shia pilgrims traveling along this road were heading to the shrine of Imam Hussein for an important anniversary at the time of the attack. This anniversary known as arbayeen marks the end of the 40 day mourning period for the death of the Imam. Shia mark this anniversary by traveling to Najaf, the Kirkuk-Tuz Khurmatu road is a popular route for Shia pilgrims.

Arrests of Militants in Pakistan

The Pakistani security forces reported on Friday that they had arrested 63 criminals, 12 of which they claim have confessed to various crimes that extremist groups have carried out in the country. In addition to the arrests, Pakistani security forces seized numerous unlicensed weapons and ammunition in raids throughout Peshawar. The spokesman for the Peshawar police said that 16 of the 63 arrested were Afghan nationals who were taken into custody due to their illegal residence in the country. Of the weapons recovered, 53 pistols and two Kalashnikovs were among the stash. It has not been disclosed if any of those arrested had any connection to the string of Shia killings throughout the country.

Report documents number of killed by terrorists in November

A report released by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and BBC this week reveals that more than 5,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in November. Those killed in terrorist attacks were mostly civilians and overwhelmingly Muslim. 60 percent of the deaths in November were at the hands of militants from the Islamic State and Boko Haram. The Islamic State was the deadliest group in November by far with 2,206 deaths attributed to them; Boko Haram which was second has 801 deaths attributed to them. The bulk of attacks occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. While not included in the report, it is worth noting that Shia Muslims have suffered disproportionately from these attacks in November as groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram have deliberately carried out attacks against Shia groups as Muharram commemorations commenced.


Letter to president Obama asking to provide relief to Syrian cities of Noble and al-Zahra


December, 05 2014


Dear Mr. President,

We at Shia Rights Watch are writing you to request that you provide relief to the 70,000 residents of the Syrian cities of Noble and al-Zahra. Residents of these Shia-majority towns near Aleppo are currently under siege and are without food and water. This siege has been underway for more than a year and the situation in these cities is dire.

What has been witnessed in these two cities is the exploitation of political and security instability by extremists in order to inflict violence upon innocent populations. Due to this siege, men women and children have been unable to leave the towns in search of sustenance or medical treatment. Not much is known about the unfolding situation in these two towns because media outlets have been unable to gain access to these areas due to continuous attacks. Zakaria Sharbu, a surgical assistant who escaped from this area and was able to speak to media outlets said that the condition has deteriorated to the point that now people are eating grass and tree leaves.

Stories of kidnappings by the extremists have been numerous. Last year the extremists captured several children and demanded over $30,000 to secure their release.

The import of medical supplies has been prohibited by the militants. Many people in the city are suffering from incurable diseases, and those with diseases that can be cured are seeing their health deteriorate due to a lack of supplies.

Your administration has overseen relief efforts to minority communities on Mt. Sinjar, and in Kobani. These relief efforts for minority communities were deemed successful but these efforts need to be expanded to include other minority communities. Shia communities have faced some of the worst violence at the hands of Al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS over the past three years and they are in desperate need of relief.

It is in the greatest urgency that we urge you to act as time is not on the side of the victims of these atrocities.


Mustafa Akhwand

Director of Shia Rights Watch


Shia News Wire_#14

67 killed in clashes with ISIS Militants in Iraq

On Monday 67 people, including 15 border guards, were killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants in 2 provinces in Iraq. The first of such attacks occurred in Iraq’s western Anbar province when dozens of militants attacked the Iraqi military headquarters at the al-Waleed crossing near the Syrian border. In this incident 20 ISIS militants were killed and the 15 border guards. The second attack occurred in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala where security forces and Shia militias clashed with ISIS forces. Seven militants were killed and weapons and explosives were seized from ISIS. The third attack occurred when Iraqi forces and Shia militiamen carried out an offensive in the town of Maqdadiyah in the same province. In this offensive 12 militants were killed. Lastly an ISIS militant was killed by a sniper as he tried to cross the Tigris River into the town of Duluiyah.

Bahraini Pro-Democracy activist jailed for three years

Zainab al-Khawaja was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for tearing up a picture of King Hamad during a court hearing. Zainab, also known under the prominent twitter handle @angryarabiya recently spent a year in jail on charges ranging from taking part in an illegal gathering to insulting the police. Zainab is the daughter of another prominent jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and sister of Maryam al-Khawaja who was sentenced in absentia to one year in jail for assaulting a policewoman earlier this week. The Bahraini government has worked to crush dissent as decrees approved by King Hamad include up to seven years in jail for criticizing him and all protests in Manama are banned indefinitely.

Shia shop owner killed in Karachi

On Saturday 35 year old Kamran Zaidi was shot and killed by armed motorcyclists in his mobile accessories shop in the Korangi neighborhood of Karachi. The attack which occurred around 3:30 occurred when two men arrived on motorcycles and disembarked the bike before shooting into the shop Zaidi and 27 year old Zeeshan Shakir were wounded at the scene and were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Zaidi was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital and Shakir is currently undergoing treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. This attack is yet another example of the failure of the Pakistani government to provide protection for its citizens.

Moroccan man admits to setting Shia mosque on fire in Belgium

36 year old Rachid El Bukhari is accused and has admitted to having set fire to the Rida Mosque on March 12, 2012 in Brussels, Belgium. The fire set by El Bukhari two years ago killed an imam and injured two others. El Bukhari stated on Thursday that the Shia are responsible unrest in Syria, and this was his motive for setting fire to the main Shia mosque in Brussels. The defendant has been charged with a ‘terrorist offense’ which yields a maximum of life in prison.

Shia doctor killed by Malik Isaq’s militants

In the Pakistani port city of Karachi a 58 year old Shia doctor and father of two was shot and killed on Monday in his clinic. Dr. Shamim Raza was shot by gunmen who entered his clinic around 1:30 pm in the neighborhood of Korangi. Dr. Raza sustained three gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead on arrival at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. This murder marks the fourth such occurrence against Shia doctors in the past three months.

33 people killed in blasts in Baghdad and Kirkuk

Roughly 33 people have been killed in Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad and a Kurdish neighborhood in Kirkuk. 16 people were killed after two bombs went off in the Sadr neighborhood of Baghdad which is majority Shia. A second bomb exploded near the Shia neighborhood of Shaab in Baghdad. This blast killed three people and wounded 12 others according to medical officials. Lastly a bomb detonated on a busy street in the city of Kirkuk which killed around 15 people. These attacks come as ISIS is losing the ground it held over the summer to Iraqi security forces and Shia militias.

Bahraini security forces raid home of main opposition party official

This week Bahraini security forces raided the home of a main opposition party in the country. Forces fired tear gas at the house and at adjacent buildings during this raid. This offensive by the Bahraini security forces was unprovoked but is largely seen as retaliation for a mass boycott of the recent parliamentary elections. The party denounced the elections as a “farce” and said the Bahraini people would continue their struggle for justice and democracy until their demands are met.

Shia News Wire_#13

November 21, 2014

Militant groups in Pakistan Declare Allegiance to ISIS

On Monday, a Taliban offshoot named Jundullah announced that it is supporting the efforts of ISIS to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Fahad Marwat, the spokesperson for Jundullah, announced this declaration of support after Jundullah met a three-person ISIS delegation. The ISIS delegation to Jundullah was led by al Zubair al Kuwaiti according to Fahad Marwat. Jundullah broke off from the organization Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which also goes by the name of the Pakistani Taliban. Jundullah along with many other groups are currently working to form an alliance with ISIS has also formed an alliance with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a prominent anti-Shia militia in Pakistan, after a meeting between representatives of the two groups in Saudi Arabia. A member of LeJ was reported to have said “all anti-Shia groups will welcome and support IS in Pakistan, though most of them will not announce it openly due to their allegiance to Mullah Omar”

Bahraini Prisoners Start Hunger Strike to End Corruption

On November 16th prisoners of al-Hodh al Jaf prison began a hunger strike in protest of the continuous systematic repression aimed at Bahraini women.13 women were arrested last week, including a soon-to-be mother, a mother with her six-month old infant, and a prominent human rights activist. The Bahraini Interior of Ministry alleged that these women were “preparing an anti-regime referendum on the day of legislative elections”, set to take place November 22nd. Two of the 13 women have since been released; however the other 11 remain in custody. Protests are expected to continue until the women are released unconditionally.

Bahraini Authorities Disperse Teargas on Protestors

Peaceful protestors continue to gather in the Bahraini areas of Ecker, Sitra, Samaheej, and Tubli, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the recently arrested 13 women (two of whom have since been released) detained on charges relating to plotting to interrupt the upcoming elections. Human rights activists also confirm the arrest of several men accused of similar charges within the last several weeks. Furthermore, Shiite news confirms that Bahraini authorities inflicted teargas upon the protestors in Ecker. Sources also confirm that protests took place several times last week including on Friday (11-14) in Sitra, as well as in the nearby villages of Abu Saiba, Malkiyra, and Samaheej.

14 Shia killed in a Pair of Car Bombings in Baghdad

14 people were killed and 31 people were wounded on Monday as two car bombs went off in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The first bomb exploded on a commercial street in the Shia district of Meshtal which killed eight people and wounded 15 others. The second bomb detonated in Baghdad’s western Shia district of Amiriya on a commercial street which killed six people and wounded 16 others.

Shia Student and a Driver Killed by a Roadside Bomb in Pakistan

On Tuesday, a young Shia girl and a driver were killed by a roadside bomb near a school in the Kurram tribal region of Pakistan. Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, have been blamed for this bombing and many have seen this as an attempt to target innocent Shia students. In addition to the two people that were killed, there were an additional five students injured and they have to be rushed to a local hospital for treatment.

Shia Activists Imprisoned in Bahrain

On Thursday, a Bahraini court sentenced 3 Shia activists to imprisonment, totaling a stark 30 years. Each activist was sentenced to serve a ten year sentence on what Bahrain authorities deem “terrorist” acts, concentrated on plotting an assault on Bahraini officers back in August.Sources further confirm that protestors again took to the streets on Wednesday demanding the release of the 13 women recently detained (2 of which have since been released). Police responded with teargas and rubber bullets.

Shia Custodian of Jahanian Shrine Killed in Ambush

Khadim Hussain, the custodian of the Jahanian Shrine in Jahanian, Pakistan was killed after being ambushed by militants on Tuesday. Few details have been released about the attack but the militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba has claimed responsibility for the murder. Many in Pakistan are fearful as many militant groups in Pakistan have either joined ISIS or have voiced their support for the organization. This murder has led to calls from many inside the country for those who have perpetrated the crime to be brought to justice.

Moharrams Message for Anti Shia Leaders

In the midst of ISIS intimidation in the area, Shia Muslims unite under the flag of Hussain, the third Shia Imam. Shia populations of Baghdad come together in Moharram to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, honoring the martyrdom of a man who fought for freedom and justice for all. The unification of the Shia majority has instilled fear in the nation’s Sunni minority. In examination, one must ask how and why a united Shia front instills angst in the Sunni minority of this nation. Despite centuries of discrimination worldwide against Shia practices, Shia still stand for their beliefs and show no sign of backing down. A united front is exactly what this nation needs in response to the massacres carried out by ISIS and other extremist organizations, and while Shia populations strive for unification against such terror groups, they are held under constant criticism.

1.400 years ago, Hussain’s 72 person army stood against the 140,000 army of the oppressive regime of his time in a land called Karbala. Hussains campaign for freedom has withheld the aversion of centuries, inspiring Shia unification against oppression and violence towards humanity. At least for a duration of a month in the year, Shia Muslims openly campaign against the terror of their time, yet as they stand for their beliefs, they are killed and eradicated. In 2014 alone, tens of people were killed all over the world, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, and even in the western nation of Australia. Mourners are targeted and massacred for their show of support for freedom.

Despite their peaceful campaign, Shia alliance is seen as a threat in the eyes of anti-Shia leadership. After centuries of enduring oppression, the Shia majority has finally come to power in Iraq, and still they face great criticism of sectarian support. One may say the enragement of Sunni populations is of a fear that the now in power Shia leaders will do to them as the Sunni leadership did and continues to do to Shia Muslims worldwide. They marginalized the Shia for generations and now they fear revenge. Little do they know, Shia Islam is that of kindness and peace.

Despite living under pressure for thousands of years, they have made it their aim to stand for their rights and are persistent in striving for Democracy. A rise of Shia power means an end to oppressive regimes, and that threatens the dictatorship of many majority Sunni nations. Throughout history, the Shia have proven their peaceful yet persistent opposition of oppressive dictators, Sunni populations have bowed their head to any and every rising regime of power. The flag of Hussain and his campaign for justice should not be that of intimidation but that of hope. Hussain fought for the right to choice, a deserved morale for anyone and everyone, yet by some, Shia fellowship in Moharram is called a support for “sectarianism”.

Hussains venture in Karbala should be examined for what it truly was: a stand for integrity. Moharram provides an opportunity to reexamine our values towards human rights and inspires us to withstand the tyrant of our time. Commemorations during this holy month is not that of intimidation, but a reminder for all to unite in the fight for human rights.

Therefore, our message for Anti-Shia leaders is to stop feeling threatened by this commemoration but instead join the effort to stop radicalization in their states.

By Zhara Akhwand

November 14, 2014

Three Bodies in Deir ez-Zor

Hanging body of three beheaded men in Deir ez-Zor added to the fear of ISIS in this area.

As witnesses describe, three bodies belonging to unknown men are hanging in a middle of the city as their heads are cut and thrown on street next to their bodies. As families complained to SRW, children pass by the bodies and are exposed to the brutal act of ISIS on daily bases.

Deir ez-Zor is located 450 km (280 mi) to the northeast from the capital Damascus and is a majority Shia populated town.

Second Attack to Alghadir Library

Second attack to Alghadir Library in Sanaa seriously wounded a Shia Twelver. Unknown gunman attacked to Alghadir Library today and wounded the owner seriously.

The same library was attacked back in April and killed two Shia Muslims.

Alghadir Library is known to be a specialty library that publishes and sells Shia-related books and scholarly articles. The attack increased fear in the Shia community in Yemen as it is thought to be a targeted killing. Shia Twelvers have no presentation in Yemen and often this population is misrepresented associated with Houthi political group who are not Shia Twelvers.

Shia News Wire_#12

November 7, 2015

Optimism over proposed Indonesian legislation

There are currently plans to draft legislation to protect persecuted minorities in Indonesia. Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Lukmen Hakim Saifuddi told local news sources of his office’s plan to draft this legislation. This piece of legislation would address the rising wave of intolerance emerging from the predominately Sunni Muslim country. Minister Saifuddi noted that the bill will focus on halting the closure of Christian Churches and attacks of Shia and Ahmadiyya mosques. This legislative proposal received widespread approval among various religious groups. Shia Rights Watch sees this as a step in the right direction as Indonesia moves to fulfill Article 29 of its constitution which guarantees all citizens the right to worship in accordance with their beliefs.

 Pakistan: String of attacks leaves five dead over past week

A string of vicious attacks over the past week left five people dead in four separate attacks. Gunmen from the group Sipah-e-Sahaba killed a Shia auto parts dealer in Karachi on October 31st. Last week it was also reported by Pakistani news agencies that the same group was responsible for abducting, torturing, and eventually beheading a six year only Shia girl. Three Shia men were killed in the cities of Mirpurkhas and Karachi by gunmen from the militant group Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal- Jamaat. Shia Rights Watch reaffirms its calls for the Pakistani government to do more to protect its Shia communities.

Bahraini forces clash with Shia communities commemorating Ashura

Shia mourners who were commemorating Ashura in Bahrain were attacked by Bahraini security forces. Reports state that forces raided several villages and destroyed and removed several lack flags that are used for the commemorations. In the village of Ma’ameer, Bahraini security forces clashed with protesters and used teargas to disperse them.

Violence continues in Iraq

This week Human Rights Watch released a report documenting the events over the previous summer when ISIS militants conducted mass executions of Shia prisoners at the Badouysh Prison near the Iraqi city of Mosul. The report concludes that nearly 600 Shia inmates were killed with only 30 surviving. The report also notes that days after this event, ISIS killed scores of Iraqi soldiers, execution style in the city of Tikrit. These two events which occurred over the summer have been the two major events in which the world has been exposed to the brutality of ISIS towards Iraqi Shia. In a separate event 34 people were killed in 3 car bombs that detonated this past Sunday in Baghdad. The bombs targeted Shia pilgrims who were traveling through the city on the way to Karbala to commemorate Ashura. Two bombs were detonated in downtown Baghdad, with another being detonated in the Sadr city section of Baghdad. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings but many believe ISIS is behind them because of a string of car bombings that they have claimed responsibility for.

Suicide bombing kills 20 Shia during Ashura commemorations in Nigeria

A suicide bomber this past Monday detonated himself in the Northern Nigerian town of Potiskum which is a known Boko Haram stronghold. The bomber ended up taking the lives of 20 Nigerian Shia as they were gathered in the city to commemorate Ashura. No group has taken responsibility for the attack but many believe that this attack was orchestrated by Boko Haram which has preaches hate against Shia.

Gunmen attacks Iraqi Shia religious leader in Australia during Ashura commemorations

On Monday, Ashura commemorations were tragically interrupted as an Iraqi Shia leader was shot in the face by an ISIS supporter in Sydney, Australia. Rasoul Al Mousawi was shot in the face and in the shoulder outside of a prayer hall in the Greenacre neighborhood of Sydney. This event shows the spread of the activities of ISIS beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria and the need for governments around the world to protect its Shia communities.

Shooting Shia at their Rituals plus Update

shia_rights_watch__shia_killed_in_SaudiThree masked gunmen shot attacked Ashura commemoration in a Shia mosque in al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. According to witnesses, gunmen opened fire on crowed leaving the commemoration in the village of al-Dalwa that killed 5 and injured nine. Shia Muslims are currently commemorating Ashura. The Ashura commemorations mark the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by the army of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Shia Muslims wear black and commemorate to honor all violence victims and advocate for peace.

Shia Muslims in Saudi have always been attacked and threatened by their government. This minority that makes up to 20% of the population are treated as second class citizen.

Although Shia have always faced oppression and discriminations Monday’s shooting was the first direct assault against them by unknown gunmen.  


The death toll increased to eight Shia Muslims as some of the injured died. So far seven people have died due to shooting in front of the Shia Islamic Center and one was found shot and dead in his car in a neighboring village. Number of children and teenagers are among the victims.

Number of Saudi clerics, have motivated Shia rights violations by their hate speeches. The Saudi government did not condemn any of such actions, instead fed the violations by arresting number of Shia influential leaders and peaceful activists such as Sheikh Nimir and sentencing him to death.

The recent shooting could be the result of the government’s public humiliation and oppression of Saudi Shia population, therefore this government is responsible for all violations towards this population. In order to stop and prevent such violations the Saudi government must protect the rights of Shia Muslims and also treat them as rightful citizens with respect to their religious belief and practices says director of SRW, Musltafa Akhwand.

 Click Here to View the Video 

Nigerian Shia killed in Ashura Commemoration

A Suicide bomber killed 23 Shia Muslims as their participated in Ashura rituals in Potiskum, Nigeria. According to sources the bomber joined the Shia as they marched in street before exploding the device.

Shia Muslims are currently commemorating Ashura. The Ashura commemorations mark the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by the army of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Shia Muslims wear black and commemorate to honor all violence victims and advocate for peace.

Number of Shia Muslims are attacked and killed every year in different countries as they commemorate Ashura.

UN Complaint