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The case of Shaikh Zakzaky: Four Years and No Justice

January 16 marks the anniversary of the expiration of the 45-day caveat in which Justice Gabreil Kolawole of Abuja Federal High Court ordered the release of Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzay in Nigeria. 

As of 2021, four years have passed since the caveat and Justice Kolawole’s order has yet to be carried out. 

Abdullahi Danladi, the Chairman of the Islamic Movement Nigeria Resource Forum, addressed the media in Kaduna on January 16, 2021, vowing the continued demand for the release of Shaikh Zakzaky and his wife Malama Zeenat Ibrahim. 

Danladi stated, 

“Today marks the fourth anniversary of the expiration of the 45 days caveat within which the Buhari-led Federal Government has been ordered to release our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, in a historic judgment delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on the enforcement of his (El-Zakzaky) fundamental rights and that of his wife, Malama Zeenat Ibrahim.

“The learned Jurist had ruled that the continued detention of the duo violates their rights under Section 35 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution and the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Consequently, he ordered the release of the ailing Sheikh and his wife within 45 days of judgment, and that both must be provided with suitable accommodation and security. The court further ordered the payment of N50m by the Federal Government to both.

“The judge warned the government in that judgment that holding the Sheikh for so long amounted to great danger, and that if the applicant dies in custody, which I do not pray for, it could result in many needless deaths…  

“…But instead of releasing them, the Federal Government opted to file bogus charges against the Sheikh and his wife through Kaduna State government. Failure to obey court orders by the government is an open invitation to anarchy, as observed by a professor of law, and this is at variance with the democratic principles it claims to be running.”

“Failure to obey that judgment by President Muhammadu Buhari four years on makes it one of the worst violations of the rule of law and a monumental abuse of the couple’s rights. It is to the glory of Allah that, four years into the judgment by the court, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife be set free…

“Many international bodies, including Amnesty International and the European Union, have all urged the Nigerian government to demonstrate respect for the rule of law and release the cleric.

We will continue to do so, irrespective of the government’s use of brutal force against us. We will leave no stone unturned in demanding for his unconditional freedom, using all legitimate means at our disposal.

We, therefore, once again unequivocally call for his unconditional release, the release of his wife and all the others still in detention since the Zaria massacre by the Nigerian Army in December, 2015.”

2015 Zaria Massacre

Over 350 Shia Muslims were killed in the 2015 Zaria Massacre as the Nigerian army opened fire on peaceful gatherers. Shia individuals, indiscriminate of age were shot; many were burned alive. 

After the incident, the military covered up happenings as bodies were taken, the site was burned and bullets were removed from the streets. 

Witnesses account for bodies being held temporarily at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital previous to being moved to undisclosed locations.  The bodies of those killed were later found in a mass grave and the whereabouts of many injured that day remain unknown until today.   

Shaikh Zakzaky, the head of IMN, and his wife were arrested following the attack in Kaduna and denied due-process for over three months. 

Despite international demand for the release of Shaikh Zakzaky and the prosecution of those involved in the Zaria Massacre, the IMN was officially banned in July of 2019 on claims of “acts of terrorism and illegality.” 

Investigations into the activities, Federal and Independent, of the IMN has not shown any acts of violence or terrorism. Shia Rights Watch notes that the outlawing of the group is an active effort of the government to thwart human rights and justify federal violence against minority groups across Nigeria.  

Flashback Friday, January 15, 2021

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Balochistan, Pakistan

After six days on the ground, the bodies of the Hazara miners were buried last week. An approximate 5,000 people attended the mass burial ceremony in Hazara Town Cemetery.
Family of the deceased had refused to bury their loved ones before a visit from Prime Minister Imran Khan. Approval to bury the miners came after promises from the government to address Hazara violence in Pakistan.
Since the anti-Shia attacks in Mach, various national and regional officials have visited Baluchistan. In meeting with the families of those deceased, Army Chief General Bajwa assured that “the perpetrators of this heinous incident shall be brought to justice and blood of the martyrs will not go wasted.”
Home to the largest Shia Hazara population, Baluchistan sits strategically at the borders of Iran, Afghanistan, and India.
The lack of security for Hazara Shia in Quetta has called into question Pakistan’s legitimacy in controlling extremist violence.

Flashback Friday, January 8, 2021

Find all Shia-related happenings in a single page – Introducing SRW Weekly Flashback Fridays!


Balochistan, Pakistan
On January 3rd, 2021, ISIS assailants kidnapped, tortured, and killed 11 coal miners in Balochistan, Pakistan,
The minors were identified as Shia Muslims previous to being dragged into the mountains.
Their hands were tied behind their backs before being shot close range. Upon discovery, the bodies were blood-soaked and bruised; six were dead, and 5 others died en route to the hospital.
Demanding justice, families of the deceased have refused to bury their loved ones until Prime Minister Imran Khan’s presence in Quetta acknowledges heightened insecurities faced by Hazara in Pakistan.
It is estimated that 2.500 protestors have now blocked roads in Balochistan. Regional officials report changes in flight traffic as a result of the protests.
As of January 9, the bodies of the 11 miners have yet to be buried, and protests continue in Quetta.


The Targeted Hazara of Pakistan

Shia Rights Watch expresses concern for the continued genocide of the Hazara ethnic group in Pakistan. 

On January 3rd, 2021, 11 coal miners in Balochistan, Pakistan, were kidnapped and killed. Armed ISIS assailants identified the miners as Shia Muslims before dragging them from the miner’s shared residence to a location known as “Pindal Goath” by locals. The miner’s hands were tied behind their backs and shot close range. Sources report that several victims’ throats were also slit. Upon discovery, the bodies were blood-soaked and bruised; six were dead, and 5 others died en route to the hospital.

Some sources report the ISIS assailants were between 20-25 individuals. 

The attack has incited protests all over Pakistan. Angry and hurt, families of victims have placed the miners’ bodies on the road, refusing to bury their loved ones in protest of the lack of official action to apprehend the assailants and protect Hazara Shia Muslims in the country. 

Among the mourners was Bani Zara Begi, who lost her 30-year-old brother Chaman Ali, two cousins, 18-year-old Naseem Ali, and 45-year-old Uzair. Begi stated in an interview that her cousin Naseem was only recently married. 

She stated, “This is the destruction of ten families. Each family has its own story. I can’t face my brother Chaman Ali’s five children.”

Another mourner was Masooma Yaqub Ali, who lost her only brother Muhammad Sadiq and four other male relatives, 18-year-old Bhanja Ahmad Shah, uncles Sher Muhammad, 20, and Muhammad Anwar, 30, and cousin Muhammad Ahsan. 

Masooma stated in her protests that “My brother was the sole breadwinner of six sisters, an elderly father, his wife and his two daughters. He had gone miles away from his hometown to earn a living.”

She furthered, ”How long will we continue to pick up the bodies of our people?”

In response to the protests, Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted, “I want to reassure the Hazara families who lost their loved ones in a brutal terrorist attack in Machh that I am cogniscant of their suffering & their demands. We are taking steps to prevent such attacks in the future & know our neighbor is instigating this sectarian terrorism. I share your pain & have come to you before also to stand with you in your time of suffering. I will come again very soon to offer prayers and condole with all the families personally. I will never betray my people’s trust. Please bury your loved ones, so their souls find peace.”

Protestors, joined by hundreds, continue to demand explicit action to ensure Shia Muslims’ safety in Pakistan and justice for the Hazara population. 

Shia Muslims in Pakistan

Shia Muslims in Pakistan exist as a minority population. For years, the group has faced uncontrolled violence in the hands of extremists who consider them outside of the faith of Islam. Labels such as “infidels” and “rejecters” are frequently used to ostracize Shia Muslims and justify killing them.

In 2020, Shia Muslims faced unprecedented anti-Shiism as Deobandi groups took to the streets, calling for violence as a means to limit expression and public presence. 

The Hazara as Shia

The Hazara people can be classified as one of the Middle East’s most targeted Shia populations. Since the 1800s, researchers estimate a 70% reduction in the Hazara ethnic population. Anti-Shia sentiment in terror organizations continually instill anti-Hazara sentiment in society by stating, “Hazaras are not Muslim, you can kill them” and  “killing Hazara [is] the key to heaven.” 

In an open letter, terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi stated, “all Shia’s are worthy of killing. We will rid Pakistan of unclean people.” The note furthered that the group intends to make “Pakistan a graveyard of Shia Hazaras.”

Activists quantify over 200 attacks targeting Hazara with a record of 1500 dead, including women and children. 

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, the Hazara life expectancy is 47, a stark 20 years less than the average life expectancy of mainstream Pakistani nationals. 

Despite the vast number of Hazara deaths, a limited number of investigations have led to arrests. 

Shia Rights Watch calls upon national officials to protect the rights of minorities and ensure legal measures to combat targeted violence. 

Incidents of Anti-Shiism, November 2020

Prejudice, discrimination, and violence against Shia Muslims is an issue of international proportion.  In the month of November, activists and grassroots organizations from the nations of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bahrain, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia reported Anti-Shiism as covered in this report. 

Shia Rights Watch notes that this report covers quantifiable incidents of direct violence and requires recognition that systemic and cultural Anti-Shiism exists in greater dimensions. 


Kabul has been home to frequent terror attacks. 

Early in the month, tens were killed, and dozens were injured in a bombing of the University of Kabul in advance of government officials’ arrival. At 11 am, a group of assailants entered the university and, upon arrival, killed bystanders and took numerous students as hostages. The gunmen detonated explosive devices, and 32 students were killed, and 50 others were injured. 

Soon after, a shoot-off with security forces was claimed by ISIL-Khorasan. 

The University of Kabul is home to a student body of 22,000 and one of Afghanistan’s largest higher education institutions.  

On the 21st of the month, a mortar attack targeted Shia residences in Khair Khaneh and Shahrenu of western Kabul. The attack resulted in 3 deaths and the injury of 20 others, many of whom were women and children. 

Days later, on the 25th of November, a double suicide bombing in central Bamiyan resulted in the death of 30 and injury of 50 civilians. Bamiyan is a predominantly Shia Hazara town. 


The persecution of activist and Shia clerics in the Kingdom of Bahrain persists. In the month of November, 38 Shia individuals were arrested. Among those arrested are Salman Radhi, Qasim Ali, Ahmed Abdel Jalil, Sayed Fadel Said Abbas, Jaafar Sadiq, Syed Muhammad Salem, Syed Ali Makki, 7, Sayed Mustafa Sayed Muhammad, Mustafa Abdel Aziz Saud, Hamid al-Fardan, Yasser Nasser, Musa Saeed Hilal, Ahmed Musa, Mr. Ahmed Haidar, Abdullah Al-Sayed Muhammad,  Ibrahim Al-Shamlan 16, Hoor Yaqoub al-Ajami, Taha al-Sayed Jalal, Ahmen al-Wadi, Muhammad Tawfiq al-Ghazal, Imad Muhammad Jawad, Ali Hamza Mubarak,  Yousef Zayer Ali, Cleric Shiekh Ibrahim al-Ansari, Ali Attia, Qasim Abdul-Hussein Al-Alwani, Suleiman Ali Al-Baqali, Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Baqali, Ahmad Abbas Mushaima, Mr. Abdullah Al-Gharifi, Hussein Abdullah Marhoun,  Muhammad Al-Sayed Jaafar in addition to 4 females for grievances posted on social media. The arrests followed home raids in the towns of Diraz, Al-Musalla, Abu Saiba, Aali, Karana, al-Suqiya, Sahla, Karkazan, and Manama. 

Shia Rights Watch notes the basis for arrest for the aforementioned stand counter to the freedom of speech as the majority of cases are based on participation in the religious congregation and/ or expression of grievances against limitations in basic rights. 


Anti-Shia violence rocked cities all over Iraq as ISIS gains traction amidst Coronavirus-related reductions in security. Shia Muslims in the cities of Baghdad, Samarra, Kirkuk, Amerli, Sadr City, and Karbala faced violence motivated by hate. 

Targeted attacks by gunmen are frequent occurrences in Baghdad. Early in the month, unidentified assailants fired a concealed weapon east of Baghdad, killing a civilian.  Across the month, 4 other individuals were found dead. 

Later on the 11th of the month, a disposed of body was found near the town square in al-Husayniya. The deceased showed signs of torture and suffocation. On the same day in Al-Hurriya, gunmen targeted an individual severely injuring him.  

The detonation of a bomb by ISIS assailants at a security checkpoint led to the death of security guards on the 9th of the month. 

Located 78 miles north of Baghdad, Samarra is home to the Askari Shrine and burial site of numerous descendants of Prophet Mohammad, two being Imams. In 2006 and then again in 2007 the Askari Shrine was bombed inciting outcry from the international Shia Muslim population. 

On the 9th of the month, an explosion in the city of Kirkuk killed two and wounded six others. An approximate 60% of the Kirkuk population is Shia Muslims. Despite the demographic, Shia in Kirkuk face frequent and systematic anti-Shiism as officials announced the growth of the Shia population as “Shia–ization” of the city. 

Late in the month, an attack on a village west of Karbala killed three civilians and one security guard. The attack was claimed by ISIS. Karbala is considered a holy site for Shia Muslims and is the destination of millions of annual visitors. 


Quetta, located in Southwest Pakistan, is a city dense with Shia Muslims, namely the Hazara ethnicity. Because of it’s Shia heavy population, Quetta is home to frequent attacks motivated by anti-Shia sentiments. On the 13th of November, an explosion targeting a police car detonated, injuring five people. 

A day later, a religious site ascribed to Imam Ali was charged by  Taliban-affiliated assailants. While no deaths have been reported, numerous attendees were injured. Shia Rights Watch notes the purpose of such an attack may not have been to kill, but to deter attendance to the religious site. Religious congregations and communal expression are central to the Shia faith, and extremist organizations target such practices to reduce spiritual practice participation. 

Another incident targeting Shia religious sites occurred on the 27th of the month when Sipah Sahaba assailants demolished Shia Mosque in the Sargodha district of Sahiwal tehsil. The demolishing occurred at night. 

In addition to attacking Shia-prominent areas of the country, Shia Muslims in positions of power are targeted and killed. In November, the Southern Union leader in Balochistan was killed upon leaving a mosque in Pashin village. Later in the month, Zafar Abbas was shot by extremist individuals. 

Saudi Arabia

Raids of al-AwamiKirkuk’s continorities suppress its minority Shia Muslim population. 

Located in Eastern Province, one of the countries most oil-rich provinces, Awamiya is home to Saudi authorities’ systemic targeting. Frequent raids and unlawful arrests by forces leave residents even more marginalized than any other measure of discrimination by national authorities. 

In November, four Shia Muslims were arrested. The arrested were: Sheikh Abbas Al-Saeed,  Mr.  Khader al-Awami, Wassim al-Nimr, and Zaki Abu Abdullah. 

Incidents of Anti-Shiism, October 2020

Anti-Shiism,  the targeting of Shia Muslims on the basis of their faith raves across international borders. In the month of October, Anti-Shiism in the forms of discrimination, persecution, and violence were reported in the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Shia Rights Watch notes that incidents of direct violence have a higher degree of reporting in comparison to systemic or cultural anti-Shiism. This report quantifies incidents of Anti-Shiism reported by witnesses, grassroots activists, and local sources.



In the last week of October alone, 78 civilians were killed by terror attacks.

Kabul faced numerous attacks across the month.  A school bombing in Al-Kawthar School killed 32 students and led to the injury of 70 others, making it the deadliest attack of the month. The attacker detonated his explosive vest in the alley leading up to the school building.

Later on the 27th, three civilians were killed and 10 others were injured by a roadside bomb in the 10th Police District

Incidents of Anti-Shiism were frequent in Kandahar Province. In the beginning of the month, two minors were killed by a roadside bomb in Zari district.  On the 25th of October, a roadside bomb in Wayand area if Shawalikot District killed two and injured one other.

On route attacks were also prominent in the country. The attacks, roadside bombs, targeted passengers traveling between cities. One such incident occurred in Helmand Province – five civilians, two of which were children, were killed and 9 others were wounded as a passenger bus was detonated by a roadside bomb.



Anti-Shiism in Pakistan took to the mainstream in 2020. Fueled by extremism from the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, also known as Sipah Sahaba, anti-Shia protests spread across Karachi and Shia Muslims all over Pakistan report concern. Between August and September 2020, seven Shia Muslims were killed amidst Anti-Shia protests and over 30 blasphemy charges were registered against Shia Muslims. In Quetta, a grenade targeting a Shia congregation led to the injury of seven, two of which were children. Later in the month, four were killed and 34 were wounded when a bomb detonated in a Quranic school in Peshawar.

In the  month of October, 65 Shia Muslims have been arrested across the nation, including but not limited to the locations of Khanewal, Dara Ghazi Khan, Narwal, Bahawlnagar, Multan, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Sargodha, Khushab, Laya, Islamabad DJ Khan, Kot DJ, and Khairpur. Local sources noted that a number of those arrested were minors.



Shia Muslims face heightened violence in the hands of authorities. In the month of October, at least 30 were arrested. Across the country, authorities raided prominent Shia neighborhoods and arrested tens of Shia individuals. Many of those arrested were orators scheduled to perform on the occasion of ‘Arbaeen,’ or the commemoration of the fortieth day anniversary of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

Among those arrested are: Ahmad Al-Gharifi, Mojtaba Sayed Saeed, Hassan Al-Dirazi, Hassan Hamid Mushaima, Haider Ali Nasser, Ali Muhanna, Ahmed Al Majid, Habib Al Mahdi, Abbas Al-Ghasra, Mahdi Sahwan, Qassem Marhoon, Hassan Al-Maliki, Mahdi Al-Al, Ahmed Abbas Ali, Hassan Saleh Al-Qattan, Ahmed Saeed Khatam, Jawad Ahmed Jawad, Adel Al-Sayyid Hamza, Ali Al-Halibi, Ahmed Nasser, Sadiq Matar Fateel, Yusef Ali Al-Maliki, Ahmad Qambar, Abdullah Khatam, Hussein Qambar, Ali Jumah, Jaafar Sahwan, Hussein Al-Sayed Hashem, Muhammad Abbas Karim Amin, Munir Mushaima, Hussein Qambar, Jaafar Fadl, Kamil Ashour, Hussein Al-Sami Mahmoud Al-Fardan, Muayad Muhammad, Mahmoud Jaafar Dhaif, and Hussain Muhammad Abdullah.

In addition to the arrests, local sources report property damage as well as physical harm to civilians amidst the raids.


Saudi Arabia

As a minority group historically targeted by extremism, Shia Muslims face persecution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On October 6,  security forces arrested orator Muhammad Bou Jabara and  Ali Khulayya for participation ‘Arbaeen’ ceremonies. Later in Hamman security forces arrested Ali Al-Awami, after raiding his home.

On the tenth of October, three females were arrested in Qatif following a home raid. Sources close to the families report detroyal of property and disappearance of possessions as the result of the raid. Also in Qatif, numerous homes were demolished and displaced dozens of Shia Muslims in the town of Al-Bahari by security forces.



Across the month of October, activity by ISIS assailants plagued the nation of Iraq. Bombings and gunfire were the most prominent forms of violence perpetuation in the country.

Baghdad was a prominent target for extremist targeting of Shia Muslims. On October 6, security forces found the body of an individual who had been stabbed in the Husayniyah area of al-Ma’mal. Two days later, the detonation of a sticky bomb that was installed at the bottom of a civilian wheel in the Kasra wa Atsh area, east of Baghdad, resulted in the killing of a man and the injury of his son. On the same day, the body of an individual was discovered in al-Sadr. The body showed signs of gunfire. On the 12th of the month, yet another body was found in southeast Baghdad. A proportion of killing attempts by ISIS have been unsuccessful and led to injury and not death. On the 20th, three were injured as an ISIS assailant attacked them on west Baghdad.

Diyala is yet another locality in which Shia Muslims face heightened risk of violence. Early in the month The village of Al-Islah in Jalawla, Diyala, was hit by three mortar shells fired by ISIS. On the same day, two civilians were injured  and two others were wounded by mortar shells in Diyala. Days later, again in Diyala, three mortar shells were detonated damaging property. On the 14th, an ISIS attack led to the death of a young man in the al-Muqdadiyah district. Late in the month, five of a single family were killed in a two part detonation in the outskirts of the al-Muqdadiyah district. Sources report the incident consisted of a lifeless shepherd’s body being strapped with a bomb which detonated as his family approached his body. The second detonation occurred as others approached the deceased.

Numerous others were killed in the areas of Kirkuk as roadside bombs targeted passersby.

Shia Rights Watch notes that the above mentioned does not include the numerous dismantled explosive devices found across Iraq.

Concerns agaist violations in Azerbaijan

Shia Rights Watch is deeply concerned by the escalation of hostility in southwestern part of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  This NGO shares the pain and sorrow that the international committees feel as the result of increasing causality of both civilians and forces.

This unrest has cost civilian lives and infrastructure in addition to harming ancient historical sites. Innocent people are either dying or fleeing from their homes as the result of the unfortunate situation in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

S.R.W calls on leaders of the world to encourage, inforce and adopt peaceful resolution to insure safety of people. This NGO pressures the leaders to implement UN Security Council resolutions that protects the dignity of people and their rights to life, and safety.

S.R.W invites all parties to work together to protect displaces people and return all the victims to their homes using nonviolent and peaceful resolutions with the goal of ending the unrest immediately.

Incidents of Anti-Shiism, August 2020

shia rights watch_Antishiism August 2020

In August 2020, Shia Muslims faced a total of 356 incidents of anti-Shiism. As a result of violence, 112 individuals were injured, 37 killed, based on their faith. 

Shia Rights Watch notes the recorded incidents are only cases of direct violence. Cultural and systemic forms of anti-Shiism cannot be quantified in nature. None-the-less, they are prominent and influential in Shia Muslims’ safety and security all over the world.


Authorities thwarted violent attempts on the tenth day of Muharram in Kabul; local authorities apprehended nine people. Along with those arrested, forces discovered six hand grenades and numerous explosive belts. 

Shia Muslims in Afghanistan exist as a minority religious group and are disproportionately targeted by extremist groups. 

Shia Muslims in Kabul live in constant fear of being targeted by radical extremism. In 2019, a significant percentage of those killed in terror attacks were Shia Muslims, deliberately targeted for their faith. 


Targeted killings of Shia Muslims in Pakistan remain prominent in August. Attacks take the form of bombings within districts with dense populations of Shia presence and armed shootings of individuals recognized as Shia Muslims. In total, 33 people have been wounded, and seven others lost their lives.

On the 9th of August, unidentified shooters targeted Syed Mukhtar Hussain Shah, 52, a caretaker of the Imambargah Chah Roshan Shah Malana, a congregation hall Shia commemorations, as he returned home from the market. Shah lost his life at the hospital. 

A day later, a bomb on a motorbike detonated in Chaman’s border city, resulting in the death of 6 and the injury of 20 others. Local law enforcement noted a high prevalence of extremist violence that target Shia communities in the province.  

The city of Quetta is another location in Pakistan with a high volume of anti-Shia violence. On the 13th of August, anti-Shia instigators threw a grenade in a market place wounding and killing nine civilians. Among those killed was a child. 

In addition to direct violence, Shia Muslims in Pakistan face derogatory language and labeling. In Karachi, homes of Shia Muslims have been marked with words translating to “Shia Infidel.” Agents of anti-Shiism consider Shia Muslims to be outside of Islam’s religion of Islam, thus a dehumanized target of violence. The markings are dangerous and heighten insecurity in the country. 


Early in the month, over 100 members of the Troops of Mojo Kenteng and Mojolaban gathered outside a Shia couple’s wedding, shouting anti-Shia slogans. Three family members were injured as a result of being bombarded with stones. 

The research director of Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace responded to the attack, stating, “Intolerance, discrimination, and persecution against religious minorities in this country do not only violate the law but also go against our national motto of unity in diversity.”

None-the-less, the assailants responsible for the attacks have yet to be charged. 

Later in Solo, Java Island, a dinner welcoming a Shia Muslim leader to the community came under attack- two youth obtained bone fractures amidst the violence. 

Anti-Shiism in Indonesia is propagated through derogatory hate-speech. Shia Rights Watch notes the existence of speech labeling Shia Muslims as infidels. 


Shia Rights Watch logs 15 incidents of direct violence against Shia Muslims in August. Incidents of violence were in the form of arrests, summonings, and raids of prominently active communities. 

Those arrested include but are not limited to Ali Abdul Hussain al-Jishi, Jawan Riyadh, and Fadhil Musa, Fadel Abbas Khudairi, Mahmoud Abbas Mansi Muhammad Abbas Mansi.

The term of orator Sheikh Abdul Mohsen al-Jamri was upheld this month despite international unrest. Al-Jamri was summoned and arrested counter to global freedom of speech and religion standards. 

Numerous mosques and religious centers were closed in August as the government attempted to halt the congregation related to Muharram processions. Before the beginning of the holy month, authorities summoned religious leaders, orators, and administration, communicating o them that arrest and detainment were consequences of participation and hosting of spiritual practice in the Holy month. 


Shiism in Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing religious identities. None-the-less, Shia Muslims live in the country as a minority and face relentless targeting in the hands of local authorities. 

On the 25thof August, in congruence with Muharram’s 10th day, an attack by armed forces in Kaduna resulted in the death of two and the injury of 30 others. 

In response to the killings, members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria have expressed their concerns. 

Despite claims against discrimination, Shia Muslims face constant threats from the hands of local and state authorities. Violence against this group has gained the notice of international human rights groups. 


In August, 23 incidents of violence across Iraq led to 26 Shia Muslims’ death and the injury of 34 others. 

The cities of Basra, Baghdad, and Diyala faced the highest frequencies of violence. Separate shootings and targeted bombings were frequently used to attack Shia individuals. 

ISIS assailants claimed the majority of violence committed against Shia Muslims. In line with warnings of security officials, Iraq has seen a rise in ISIS activity as security forces have been reorganized to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The lack of forces, moreover halts investigations against extremism in the country. In mid-August, a mass grave was discovered in Yusufiaya. The seven bodies therein are expected to be victims of violence in the hands of Daesh. More information is to be expected from authorities. 


Police in Kashmir arrest dozens of protestors on the 29th of August and injured 40 Shia Muslims in the process. 

In the wake of the Holy month of Muharram, local authorities restricted Muharram related processions. 

Srinagar, Badgam, Baramulla, and other areas were restricted by authorities to stop people from taking out Muharram processions. Lal Chowk, the valley’s commercial center, and the adjoining regions of Srinagar were completely sealed. Troops and police personnel were deployed across the occupied territory, who blocked main roads by putting up barricades. None-the-less, dozens of people took to the streets in demand of freedom of religious expression. 

Police arrested approximate 200 individuals. Numerous of those arrested reported that Srinagar police promised their release if they pledged not to attend Muharram processions. 

Anti-Shia protests in Karachi, Pakistan

Shia Rights Watch expresses immense concern in regards to recent anti-Shia protests in Karachi, Pakistan.

Within the rally, affiliates of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan waved flags and shout derogatory slurs against Shia Muslims, calling them “infidels” and damaging not only identified Shia property but also the city’s public infrastructures.

Shia Muslims in Pakistan exist as a minority population. For years, the group has faced uncontrolled violence in the hands of extremists who consider them outside of the faith of Islam. Labels such as “infidels” and “rejecters” are frequently used to ostracize Shia Muslims and justify killing them.

The most recent justifications of anti-Shiism included the Coronavirus, which some have labeled the “Shia Virus,” scapegoating the population for the countries pandemic. While it would be expected that the presence of deadly disease would overpower biases, incidents of religious discrimination highlight the extent of dehumanization that fuels cultural violence in Pakistan. In Islamabad, anti-Shiism in a layperson was deep enough to justify watching a countryman die as he retracted willingness to donate blood when he discovered the recipient to be Shia Muslim.

Pakistan has seen a stark increase in violence against Shia Muslims starting at the beginning of the Arabic month of Muharram.

Shia Muslims face heightened rates of human rights violations in this month as their open and visible rituals make them targets for anti-Shiism. None-the-less, the recent incidents of anti-Shia rallies in Pakistan are unprecedented.

Since then numerous Shia Muslims have reported that their homes and businesses were vandalized with derogatory labels, making them visible targets of violence. Shia congregations are met with mobs and their congregation halls are damaged by rocks and pellets. The killing of Shia Muslim individuals in Karachi occurs in broad daylight with little to no intervention by authorities.

Among the most recent acts of violence is the brutal death of Qaiser Imran in Kohat, an attack on a procession in Okara, and the desecration of an Imambargah in the Lines Area.

In response to the attacks, Shia Pakistani’s have taken to Twitter to share their experiences as Shia Muslims in the country.

Sara B. Haider (@Bohotsaara) responded to the inquirer @ghazi_taimoor, “I was 12 when a bunch of girls in our class started calling me and another Shia classmate “kafir,” “ganday log,” and other things. I never mentioned anything about my faith, my name said it all. Told our teacher, she said: “You all should treat ‘non-Muslims’ kindly.”

Khadija Zaidi-Rashid (@Khadija_zaidi) wrote, “I was 8 when classmates told me you get a house in Paradise for each Shia you kill.”

Wasif (@wasifmoin) stated, “It started in 6th grade. So as time went by I just hid the fact I was one but those who openly expressed that they were Shia were often humiliated and I had to sit quietly and watch my fellows get the same treatment. A never-ending cycle of pain.”

Shia Muslims in Pakistan spend their days in the margins of the country they help build. They feel endangered, so much so that many choose to practice their faith in secret.

Shia Rights Watch urges Pakistani authorities to institute justice for Shia Muslims in the country. We denounce the most recent rallies against Shia Muslims along with the complete lack of regard from the local and national authorities.

Bahrain’s Counterproductive Covid-19 Measures

Shia Rights Watch raises concerns for the state of human rights in the Holy Month of Muharram. 

In advance of the Holy Month, Bahraini authorities announced restrictive measures in religious congregation and public organizations expressing Muharram commemorations. 

Prominent organizers of mourning rituals have been summoned and threatened with detention. 

Some religious centers have been warned that they will be fined and shut down for three years in case of hosting Muharram rituals.

Furthermore, social propaganda criminalizing Shia Muharram rituals have been put forward across the country. 

The banning of ritualistic congregations occurs while commercial complexes and businesses thrive with little to no health provisions. The contrast in treatment is a point of grievance for Shia Muharram mourners. 

Prominent leader, Ayatollah Isa Qasim stated, 

With regards to the issue of the opening and closure of obsequies between us and the other side, whether it be an official, health-related or religious authority, tell us is it reasonable that gatherings in malls under specified conditions can prevent Coronavirus, while obsequies are deemed an attracting environment to the virus?

He further noted, “Allowing the opening of commercial complexes, markets, swimming pools, and sports halls, while denying the commemoration of Ashura means: We do not want Al-Hussein, Al-Hussein must be expelled, and the war is against Al-Hussein.


The words of Ayatollah Qasim echos the mass perception of measures taken by the government. Because Shia rituals and religious congregation are disproportionately targeted by what the government calls “health precautions” compared to businesses, many Shia Muslims feel that the new restrictions are not a function of health precautions but active attempts by the authorities to thwart religious expression. 

Bahrain is a nation in which a minority non-Shia leadership leads a majority Shia constituent population. Despite their numbers, Shia Muslims in Bahrain face hardships and discrimination on the basis of their faith. The long history of anti-Shiism in the country is now serving counterproductive in quelling the propagation of Covid-19, thus endangering the lives of all residents of Bahrain. 

Shia Rights Watch emphasizes that criminalization of faith-based congregation unsuccessful in reducing transmission of Covid-19. Restrictions imposed by the government that hindered religious expression in Iran and now in Bahrain lead to public outcry and protests in larger congregations (than they would be in traditional rituals). 

Counter to current measures, Shia Rights Watch calls for the facilitation of rituals by authorities in conjunction with local religious entities. The government of Bahrain must provide resources and health provisions that defeat the transmission of COVID-19, and local spiritual entities must adopt measures to protect Muharram mourners from illness.

For instance, existing infrastructure such as gaming stadiums and leisure camps can be adapted for Muharram’s duration. Moreover, sites of Shia Muslim congregation can be used as mediums of education and enforcement of health precautions and testing. 

Shia Rights Watch invites all entities to explore the Muharram 2020 Advisory and Individual and Community Guides Against Covid-19 available on ShiaRightsWatch.org


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