Week of July 8-15
Retaliation for the ISIS loss of ground in Iraq continues through bombings in population dense areas. This week, an explosion in a vegetable market in Rashidiya, Baghdad left 25 dead and dozens of others injured. The ISIS bombing of civilian occupied areas of Iraq has left the nation’s citizens living in fear.
In the month of June, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq announced a death toll of over 660 and wounding of 1457 civilians. As the death count in July has reached past 400, the trend of increased Shia targeting does not seem optimistic. The future of Shia Muslims is a matter of particular concern as they have historically been the target of extremist, anti-Shia sentiment.
Iraq’s death count for the past week totals 66 with tens of others being wounded. The number of injured civilians cannot be reported in full as there is no way to accurately account for all wounded patients admitted to local hospitals.
Anti-shia sentiment fostered in Saudi Arabian government continues as yet another Shia cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Hassan al-Habib, has been detained. With him, three of his companions were also detained in the Safavi region of Qatif.
Despite centrally living in the most oil-rich portion of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom, Shia muslims have lived a life of poverty and discrimination by the government. For decades, the Saudi government has overlooked the concerns and worries of this minority group, and has further prosecuted them for their demand for freedom of religion, assembly and expression.
Notwithstanding international denouncement, Saudi officials continue their unjust demeanor towards minority groups within their border.
Sentiments of anti-shiism have left the lives of tens of Pakistani Shia in danger. Early this week, the home of Saghee Ahmed Saifi, a Shia cleric in Bani Gala, Islamabad, Pakistan was attacked by unknown gunmen in late hours of the night.
Late Saturday night, 3 armed assailants entered the Saifi home. They opened fire using a 30-bore pistol on Sobia Saifi (Saifi’s wife), and then on Saifi himself as he rushed to answer his wife’s screams. Sobia Saifi died on the spot; Saifi himself was left alive but injured. While investigations are in way, Saifi himself believe the assailant to be motivated by their aim of occupying the religious seminary of Masjid Gulestan-e-Ahle Bait in which Saifi instructs.
Anti-Shia sentiment has displayed an increased trend in the recent years as hate-crime has increased towards minority religious and ethnic groups. The government’s lack of follow-up and prosecution of assailants has allowed for the encouragement of these sentiments.
Anti-Shiism continues in Bahrain as yet another academic has been banned from travel outside the Kingdom. Mohammad al- Tajeri, a lawyer, is one of 19 professionals (doctor, lawyer, professor, etc.) is that have been issued travel bans.
Travel bans by Bahraini officials serve as means to limit the freedom of Shia professionals and prohibit them from contacting foreign humanitarian aid.