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Extremists Enjoy Freedom in Kenya

KenyaSiege at Kenyan Mall got lots of attention from Media last week. It is interesting that Kenya is one of the countries in which terrorist and their leaders feel secure to spread their ideologists. Abu Sharif Ahmed is an example of so called leaders who are proud of their anti-human ideologies who have freedom in this country. Abu Sharif Ahmed is one of the most dangerous extremist’s leaders who encourage youth to join Al-Shabab terrorist group. He is known by his nickname Makabvry. Makabvry enjoys freedom to advocate for terror and recruit soldiers for Somalia’s al-Shabaab terrorist group.

It is unacceptable that in many countries of the work extremist’s leaders enjoy security and freedom to spread their hatred messages, says Shia Rights Watch.

Al-Shabaab is a Somalian group that was identifies as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government in March 2008. The group has been responsible for many terror activities. Makabvry openly encourages youth to join terrorist groups and participate in killings, especially targeted killings of Shia Muslims.

Minorities and human rights activists are threatened and denied their basic human rights while key terrorists are free to spread their messages. SRW believes it is critical for governments to identify terrorists leaders and stop their activities.

Kenya’s government is responsible for the increasing number of youth that are joining terrorist groups and must take serious action to stop them. Human rights violators such as Makabvry should not be free and feel secure to recruit for terrorist groups. Kenya’s government must act immediately.

Letter to Secretary John Kerry on Violations of Religious Freedom in Malaysia

In Malaysia religious minorities continue to see their freedom of religion and expression restricted.  Malaysian authorities often ban publications, close or destroy worship centers and arrest members of the Shia community and other mystical sects.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Shia Rights Watch details the worst excesses of governmental discrimination toward religious minorities in Malaysia.

SRW is joined by a diverse group of human rights organizations, advocacy groups, and religious leaders concerned about the ongoing and escalating violations of the freedoms of religion, expression, and assembly in Malyasia.

More than 20 Shia Muslims were arrested in August and September of 2013. Among the arrested is Dr Nur Azah mother of a toddler who was arrested from her clinic in Kamunting for having Shia prayer books at her office. Mohd Ridzuan bin Yusof, Abdul Manaf bin Abdul Hamid, Idris Bin Mat Desa, Abu Bakar bin Ahmad, Nur Azah binti Abdul Halim and Nazahatulniza binti Abdullah are six out of 16 others arrested after the federal state of Kedah banned Shia publications.  Police also raided and closed a Shia worship and community center in Gombak, Selangor, damaging the centers and seizing many books and personal belongings.

Hindu and Christian are among the minorities who face discrimination as the Malaysian government demolishes their churches and temples.

Religious minorities face discrimination and restrictions on the universal freedoms of religion and expression.  These violations undermine Malaysia’s reputation for religious tolerance and threaten the ethnic and religious consensus on which Malaysia is built, said Mustafa Akhwand, Shia Rights Watch director.  We urge Secretary of State John Kerry and his Administration to raise these issues with the Malaysian government.

Letter to Secretary John Kerry on

Violations of Religious Freedom in Malaysia

October 2, 2013

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary of State,

   We are writing to you today to bring to your attention serious violations of religious freedom in Malaysia. Malaysia’s fragile political consensus is threatened by the government’s active promotion of only one form of Sunni Islam. Religious minorities face both societal abuse, limits on religious expression, discrimination, and the demolition of unregistered places of worship.

We urge you to highlight the importance of freedom of religion and expression during your visit. As President Obama said so eloquently in his 2009 speech in Cairo, as a way to move forward, we must “say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors,” because we all share the “common principle…of justice and progress, tolerance and dignity of all beings.” Unfortunately, Malaysian politics is often not tolerant of dissenting views.

Malaysia presents itself as a model, moderate Muslim-majority country. Too often however, religion is used as a political wedge issue for politicians seeking support among the majority Malay and Sunni Muslim population, leaving many ethnic and religious minorities marginalized and with reasonable fears about their lack of civil liberties and legal recourse. Non-Muslims and dissenting Muslims are often disallowed from voicing their concerns, face death threats, detentions, or attacks by vandals. The government maintains a secret list of banned religious organizations. The fears of religious minorities and the expansion of Muslim/non-Muslim political competition in Malaysia are not “soft” side issues but may have critical policy and strategic impacts that could limit U.S. interests in Southeast Asia.

Shia Muslim practice is restricted, their mosques raided by police, their publications banned and confiscated, and recently 21 Shia practitioners were arrested in August and September 2013 because their faith is considered “deviant” from the “true Islam.” Hindus and Christians have faced explicit discrimination in cases adjudicated by the Sharia courts involving issues such a marriage and divorce, parental rights, conversions, and funeral rites. In addition, the Malaysian government has failed to grant equal rights to non-Muslim places of worship or to fully protect them from demolition or vandalism.

Ten thousand Hindu temples/shrines have been demolished or desecrated (includes private shrines located on plantation estates). In addition, following a High Court decision ruling that the government’s ban on the use of “Allah‟ in non-Muslim publications infringed upon constitutional rights, including freedom of expression and freedom to practice one’s religion, several non-Muslim places of worship were attacked, including at least 10 Christian churches and a Sikh gurudwara.

We urge you, as Secretary of State, to highlight the universal notions of freedom of religion and freedom of expression to the Malaysian government and seek promises from the Malaysian government to promote tolerance and respect for all religious minorities, end the ban on religious publications and other restrictions on religious expression, recognize all religions and give them freedom to practice their peaceful rituals, and release anyone being held for their religious activities or religious freedom advocacy.

















Dr. Joel C. Hunter
Senior Pastor
Northland – A Church Distributed

Amjad Mahmood Khan
National Director of Public Affairs
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA

Jeff King
International Christian Concern

Paul Marshall
Center for Religious Freedom
Hudson Institute

Brent McBurney
President & CEO
Advocates International

Faith J. H. McDonnell
Director, Religious Freedom Program
The Institute on Religion and Democracy

Greg Mitchell
The Mitchell Firm

Rev. Sue Taylor
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

CC: Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large, International Religious Freedom

Arab Kings Label the victims to Cover their own Violations

Ba-flgAs many as 50 activists are sentences to 5 to 15 years in prison for demanding human rights and equality.

Oppression and discrimination of Bahraini government that led to protest and unrest in this country is taking even more serious face by sentencing of peaceful protestors. Bahrain is one of few countries in which Shia Muslims are majority yet they are suppressed under a Sunni-led kingdom. Shia Muslims have always complained for the unfair treatments they have faced in this country. The oppression became so unbearable that it resulted in mass protest in 2011. Since then, the government openly attacks them by raiding their homes and Islamic centers, killing and imprisoning activist and even arresting minors and women.

Recently 50 more activists were sentences to jail for their “anti- government” activities.

SRW believes it is unfortunate that peaceful protest have become a “legal” reason for the government to violate citizens’ right to freedom and expression. “Anti- government” and “Terrorist Activities” are labels Arab kings use to cover their human rights violations and blame the victims. SRW believes the peaceful protests should not be considered “anti-government” movements but should be viewed as an active demand for freedom and equality that all deserve. Bahrain government can easily and quickly bring peace back to the country by recognizing Shia Muslims and give them freedom to practice their faith and participate in all aspects of the government equally.

Shia Rights Watch’s Message to Saudi Authorities

hajjAs Hajj ritual starts soon, SRW invites the Saudi Arabia’s kingdom to assure security and freedom of Shia Muslims to participate in Hajj. Every year thousands of Shia Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. However instead of warmth welcome form authorities they face multiple restrictions that limit their ability to practice their faith or threaten their security.

SRW receives number of complaints from Shia Muslims living in or visiting Saudi Arabia during Hajj. Saudi authorities have repeatedly insulted Shia Muslims, searched their residences, seized their ritual prayers books, and in some cases arrested them.

Hajj is becoming more and more difficult for Shia Muslims as anti-Shi’im is growing in this country.

SRW urges Saudi Kingdom to take advantage of Hajj season to spread peace and initiate dialog among Muslims. Shia Muslims must feel secure to go to Hajj and Saudi has no rights to prevent them from their religious duty. 

14 Explosions and 50 More Death

A woman reacts at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City
Picture by Reuters Media

More than 50 Iraqi Shia Muslims are dead after 14 bombs exploded in Iraq on September 30, 2013. Systematic targeted killings in Iraq are responsible for death of more than 6000 people in Iraq since January 2013. No terrorist group has claimed the responsibility of the explosions.

It is unclear if the attacks are to pressure Iraqi government and to create unrest or are designed to kill Shia Muslims for sectarian reasons. Whatever the motivation is it is resulting in death of thousands of civilians who live in peace.

SRW condemns the ongoing violations and asks Iraqi forces to increase country’s security and cleansing it from terrorist groups.

Saudi Arabia authorities arrest 3 member of Ayatollah Fayadh office

Ayatollah_FayazShia Rights Watch, Washington DC, According to SRW representative in Medina -Saudi Arabia, on Monday September 30th Saudi Arabia authorities arrested three member of the office of Ayatollah Mohammad Ishagh Fayadh in the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid Nabawi) for unknown reasons.

Saudi authorities showed more restriction and pressure toward Shia Muslims in Medina. There are many cases reported that Shia scholars were arrested or questioned because of their religion in past years. Hajj of 2013 can become a challenging year as Saudi authorities have new agenda to pressure and restrict Shia Muslims during the pilgrimage

Hajj is an annual Islamic ritual that is mandatory for many who can afford to participate, however, in many cases, Shia Muslims have to risk their security in order to accomplish their religious duty.

SRW urges Saudi authorities to explain their restrictions toward Shia Muslims and demand freedom of the those arrested for practicing their religion.

The Conference of Ali

Shia-Rights-Watch_the-Conference-of-AliShia Rights Watch – Dearborn, MI – Shia rights watch joined more than 3000 Shia Muslim attendees at UMAA’s eleventh annual convention “The Conference of Ali” in Dearborn Michigan, May 2013.

SRW had a chance to meet people from all around the United States and raise Shia rights awareness amongst citizens, activist and organizations.  We were able to suggest and recommend practical steps that human rights activist and citizens can take to promote human rights and defend the rights of Shia Muslims. The recommendations and trainings included networking ideas, human rights law awareness, report writing, community and media outlet outreach, and news broadcasting methods.  

Activist were able to access hard copies of  Shia Rights Watch’s publications such as reports, “International Bill of Human Rights”, “Who are Shia Muslims”  and “Anti-Shi’ism” informative handouts.  

Shia rights watch would like to thank thousands of Shia and non-Shia attendees who met SRW representative during UMAA convention. Also this organization admires the UMAA security personals who responded to bomb thread and removed suspicious object from the ladies bathroom in the second floor of Adoba hotel. The hotel was evacuated and the suspicious object was removed in timely manner.

SRW urges the attendees to keep in touch and continue promoting peace and non-violence.

Funerals, New Target Places for Criminals

Series of bomb explosions killed about 100 and injured more than 120 in Iraq.

An explosion in n Sadr city left 57 killed and 120 injured.

Two hours later another explosion killed nine and wounded 14.

Gunmen killed seven police officers and wounded 21 people in another attack in the same day.

Most of recent attacks and explosions took place when people are gathered to the honor of their lost ones in funeral ceremonies.

4000 people are killed between April and August 2013.

The attacks and bombs are clearly designed and planned to target civilians since all take place at crowded areas. SRW believes such crimes against humanity must be investigated in international committees and we urge the Iraqi government to stand up for the rights of its citizen and investigate the killings.

SRW Calls on International Department of Historic Resources

An attack to a Shia Muslim shrine in Iraq raised Shia Rights Watch’s concerns. After targeted Shia Killings, demolition and attacks to Shia holy shrines, Islamic centers and schools are increasing in different parts of the world.

A shrine in northern Baquba district, Iraq, belonging to an offspring of the Shia Muslim’s 7th Imam was attacked and two of the employees were killed by anti-Shia terrorist groups.

The trend started in Saudi Arabia when King Ibn Saud ordered demolition of four Shia Imams and many of Prophet Mohammed’s close family members and companions in May 1, 1925. Many Shia Mosques and centers have been demolished since then in Bahrain, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and more.

SRW has contacted many of those countries’ embassies and asked them to respect the rights of Shia Muslims to practice their religious freedom, yet none of the violators acknowledged this right for Shia Muslims.

Increasing demolition and attacks to Hsia historical sites in unaccepted and must be investigated by International Department of Historic Resources.

SRW calls on International Department of Historic Resources to take action and protect Shia related historical sites since they belong to history that matters to all humanity and are not limited to the interest of Shia Muslims.

Syria, “Civil War”! or International Interest?

“Civil War” is a funny title to describe what is going on Syria. As far as I understand “civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic.” If this definition is corrects, what is going on in Syria is so NOT a civil war.

As many media outlets, NGOs and governmental sources repeatedly reported, there are people from all over the world who are fighting, pro or against government, in Syria. War in Syria is not between Syrians. It is far beyond that.

Many reports highlights that rebels from 83 different countries are fighting in Syria. Fighters in Syria hold nationality of many different countries in Middle East and even Europe. People from Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Franc, Chechnya, Iran, Lebanon and many more countries moved to Syria to fight with different motivations.

Seems like there are an international interest in the unrest in Syria and people with different interests find Syria a land to take revenge, participate in holy war, fights for freedom, and so on.

Interestingly this war is financed by world’s most human rights violators. Saudi Arabia and Qatar spent millions (possibly billions) funding and arming the rebels in this country according to Globalresearch.ca.

War in Syria became a one in a kind war that raised an important question about power, credibility and leadership skills of international committees, politicians, and governments.

A war that involves people from all around the world cannot be civil war.

I think Syria has become a land for “some countries” to send their most dangerous criminals and motivate them with “jihadi” title to clean their own lands from terrorists.

In case of Syria, not taking any action to stop terrorist activities is a crime. How many people should be murdered until we wake up and take action?

By Hawraa, Human Rights Activist and Specialist.

On September 19, 2013

UN Complaint