October 02, 2014
Briefing “Understanding the ISIS Threat” by SRW and MPAC
Shia Rights Watch and Muslim Public Affairs Council successfully had their briefing on ISIS and its threat on the Capitol Hill on Monday the 29th.
The briefing focused on U.S policy to degrade and defeat ISIS including the recent airstrikes in Syria. Also the panelist addressed the issue of Americans and Europeans traveling aboard to join ISIS. The second panel focused on the testimonials from three different targeted populations in Iraq. Representatives from Shia Muslims, Iraqi Ezidis and Christians had an opportunity to share their experience and pain with audience.
Number of congressman’s staffers, university professors, human rights activist and religious leaders were among audience.
For both Christina and Ezidi leaders it was the first time that two Muslim NGOs have invited them to express their pain along with others. SRW believes all minorities and impacted communities must come together in order to defeat extremists. This organization is thank full to MPAC for their co-sponsorship and hopes to see more NGOs join the coalitions against terrorists.
Nabeel Rajab Arrested Again
Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist, was arrested upon his return from advocacy human rights tour to Europe yesterday. Sources believe he was arrested because he has tweeted that number of Bahrainis who had joined ISIS come from state security institutions.
Nabeel has served three years in Bahraini prison for his advocacy activities and was released recently.
Bahraini government has always oppressed Shia Muslims and its recent arrests of peaceful advocates such as Nebeel Rajab and Mariam Al Khawaja emphasizes that this kingdom does not intend to commit to its promises regarding reforms. toward freedom and democracy.
Violence Peaks as the Day of Arafa Approaches
Violence peaks in Iraq as the day of Arafa (عرفة) gets closer. Three cars exploded in Shia area of Baghdad. The explosions killed 13 and wounded 39 according to local hospital.
Arafa is a day when Shia Muslims travel to Karbala, Iraq to visit shrines. Thousands of Shia are expected to visit Karbla on Saturday. Although ISIS and other anti-Shia groups have tried to target the shrine sin Iraq, the Iraqi civilians have protected their religious sites.
SRW urges Iraqi forces to protect pilgrims who travel to this country on especial occasions. So far many Shia pilgrims have been killed while visiting this country.
Muslim Americans have More Protection this Haj Year
American Muslims enjoy more protection during this Haj year thanks to many Muslim NGO s that joined Muslim Advocates in their collective efforts to put pressure on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department to help keep American Muslims safe during Haj.
Saudi authorities have failed to protect safety of American Muslims, especially Shia groups who attend Haj.
During 2013 Haj season a Shia Muslim group from Dearborn. The pilgrims where assaulted threatened. Saudi authorities did not take any action to protect this groups, instead forced witnesses to delete their phone recordings of the attack.
Shia pilgrims have been under pressure from Saudi kingdom and other anti-Shia groups. Number of them have complained being attacked, searched, insulted and degraded by Saudi guards when praying or visiting historical sites.
SRW, which is one of the signatory, of the Muslim Advocates letter to Kerry hopes this year Shia Muslims enjoy more freedom and protection.
State Department agreed to Counsellor’s General on call staff in Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi officials to discuss the issue with them.
Shia School Children Targeted in Syria
A bomb exploded while children dismissed from a Shia school in Shia neighbourhood of Aktameh, Homs.
Immediately after the first explosion, when people gathered to rescue the children, a suicide bomber went off killing 18 and wounding 56 people.
SRW strongly condemns killing children in Syria. Minors in Syria have been mostly affected as many lost their care givers, residence and access to education and nutrition.
Saudi Bans Quran Copies accompanied by the Pilgrims According to Dar al-Akhbar
Saudi government banns Muslims to take their personal Quran into the Mosque. Previously this government prohibited Shia and other sects of Salam to have their prayer books and Turbah ( prayer stone) during Hajj.
Turbah is a small piece of soil or clay, often a clay tablet, used by Shia Muslims during prayer to symbolize earth.
Every year Shia pilgrims complain that their prayer stone and prayer books have been demolished by Saudi authorities at the airport upon entering this country. According to Dar al-Akhbar news website this year Saudi bans Quran copies accompanied by the Pilgrims. SRW believes Saudi kingdom is violating every pilgrim’s rights and freedom of religion. Hajj is one of the most universal gathering of Muslims and each sects must be allowed to practice Hajj accourding to their believes.