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