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ISIS Destroys Mosques and Shrines in Iraq

ISIS destroys tens of Shia Mosques and Shrines as they continue to instill fear in Iraq. Particularly in the northern Nineveh province, ISIS has destroyed six Shia mosques as well as four shrines. SRW believes UNESCO must act fast as most of destroyed sites are important historical locations that belong to the history of all humanities, not just Shia Muslims.

Threat to a Shia Mosque in Turkey

A Shia mosque located in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul has been attacked. A Molotov cocktail was thrown into the Muhammadiyah mosque early morning on July 8th, causing fire, according to local activists. The same mosque was vandalized on the 9th of July. The mosque’s Imam, Mr. Hamza Aydın, has revealed he has been receiving threatening letters since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The fire damaged the mosque significantly but no one was reported injured. SRW is following up with local authorities.

Leaked Security Documents Show ISIS Plots to Attack Shia areas of Lebanon

The Lebanese media reported Sunday that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants plan to expand their reach from Iraq and Syria into Lebanon. The reports come from Ad-Diyar newspaper, to where the documents had been leaked, describing their plan to attack the Shia and Christian communities near the Syrian border of northern Bekaa Valley.

Another militant group, the Free Sunni Brigades in Baalbek, posted threats via social media towards the Shia groups that if they did not withdraw from Syria, they would soon be targeted, as well as Lebanon’s Christian sector, with their armed suicide bombers. Security forces have denounced both threats on credibility.

Joint Statement Condemning Chines Government’s Actions Against Muslims

FreeMuslim Association, Imam Shirazi World Foundation and Shia Rights Watch condemned Chines governments’ against its Muslim population. After meeting with Rebiya Kadeer, an active leader of Uyghur Muslims, the office of Ayatollah Shirazi issued an statement and asked Chines authorities to respect all ease the pressure on Muslims during the Month of Ramadan. Muslims in China are pressured to break their fast in the holy Month of Ramadhan. Some have even been issued a death sentence for their refusal to stop peaceful rituals. The Shia Rights Watch condemned the actions of government at this meeting and thanked the support of Shia religious leaders in respect to Uyghur people.

For Shia of Mosul Ethnic Cleansing is Just the Beginning

By Justin Schwegel

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 500,000 have fled Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city after the city fell to Sunni jihadist members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL has the stated goal of creating a radical Sunni Caliphate in Iraq and Syria and has called for the execution and expulsion of Shia Muslims from the territory they control.

Most of those who have fled are now internally displaced persons (IDPs) primarily in Iraq’s north and east. ISIL is best known for its numerous atrocities which include execution style murders and crucifixions. There have been innumerable reports of ISIS beheadings of Shia religious leaders and faithful as well and ISIL has destroyed Shia mosques and shrines wherever they are found. During their advances into Northern and Western Iraq, they have committed the mass execution of Shia Muslims.

Fear has driven the massive exodus from ISIL-controlled areas. The IOM places the total number of those displaced by ISIL advances at over 1 million IDPs throughout Iraq. Those fleeing Mosul and other areas of ISIL advance are a heterogeneous group composed primarily of Shia, but with Christians, Kurds and Sunni Muslims who oppose ISIL extremism.

However, for the Shia fleeing ISIL, ethnic cleansing is just the beginning of a tragic journey. There are numerous media reports that Shia who find themselves in towns under the ever-expanding control of ISIS are systematically hunted down and slaughtered. During an interview one Iraqi Kurd who was briefly held by ISIS said that those Shia who cannot be exchanged for prisoners are summarily beheaded.

Those who can escape ISIS territory have sought the relative safety of Kurdish lands patrolled by the Peshmerga. However, following the massive influx of refugees into the semi-autonomous region, Kurdish authorities have tightened restrictions, now requiring a local Kurdish sponsor to enter. This has left some families with nowhere to run. Local charities have been stretched to the breaking point by a lack of resources and the sheer number of those afflicted.

The rise to power of ISIL in Syria and Iraq is an international problem and one that was nurtured by Gulf States hoping for regime change at any cost in Syria. Likewise the threat posed to civilians in both Iraq and Syria is an international problem that calls for international cooperation and support.

Shia Rights Watch condemns the continued funding of terror groups such as ISIL and condemns the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by ISIl and affiliated militia in Iraq. Further, SRW recognizes that this crisis is international in nature and calls on the international community to take collective action to help safeguard refugees and internally displaced persons.


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