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Malaysia arresting Shiite families, infants, instead of finding plane

Written By | Mar 12, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2014 – As the search for the missing Malaysian aircraft intensifies, the country’s government has shifted focus to arresting nearly 100 Shiite Muslims, including infants, in an overnight raid. The arrests took place after police believed a Shiite religious celebration took place. Shocking photos emerged on Reddit, showing several infants behind bars, laying on the floor in prison cells, and in deplorable conditions..

An overcrowded jail cell in Malaysia, where an infant from a Shiite Muslim family can be seeing laying on the floor.

An overcrowded jail cell in Malaysia, where an infant from a Shiite Muslim family can be seeing laying on the floor.

The pictures show over-crowded cells, with many of the Shiite families forced to sit or sleep on the floor. The majority of the prisoners seem to be wearing nightwear, evidencing that the arrests took place in the dead of the night.

The Malaysian Insider reports “[A]uthorities on Saturday arrested 114 people believed to be Shia Muslims in Perak, in the latest crackdown against followers of the second largest Islamic school of thought.

“The arrest took place [because of] a celebration to [commemorate] the birth of Siti Zainab, daughter of Islam’s fourth caliph Ali, according to reports. Women and children were also among those arrested.”




Reports indicate that infants as young as 4 months old were placed under arrest.

Malaysian propagandists immediately responded on Reddit, defending the government’s arrest of individuals they acknowledge to be innocent of any crime. One user wrote “In Malaysia, Shia is considered deviant […] You also not allowed to form a group to practice your faith. Yes we are stern in protecting our faith and our children faith and to keep it pure from innovation. Regarding Allah words, it was the right move, because there were underground movement to spread confusion among muslim youth in the country.”

When questioned about the morality of the behavior of the Malaysian government, the same user replied with a horrific account of conditions in Malaysia: “They were not oppressed, most probably they would end up in rehabilitation center to correct their faith. Rehabilitation center is not a prison and people there are treated with respect.”

Reddit photos showing imprisoned infants in a Malaysian jail,

Reddit photos showing imprisoned infants in a Malaysian jail.

Rehabilitation centers of this sort, and language of this type, are scarily reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, a novel about a government that controls every aspect of its citizenry’s lives:

“We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him.

“We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him.

Authorities forced the prisoners, arrested in the middle of the night on suspicion of being Shiite Muslims, to sleep on the floor.

Authorities forced the prisoners, arrested in the middle of the night on suspicion of being Shiite Muslims, to sleep on the floor.

“It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be.” – 1984

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Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.