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Shia Rights Watch urges President Obama to protect Shia rights

Written By | Sep 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2014 — In the wake of brutal murders of innocent Shia civilians in Pakistan and Iraq, Shia Rights Watch sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting his assistance in protecting the rights of Shia throughout the Middle East and South Asia.

In this letter, the organization calls for Pakistan to be added to the U.S. Department of State’s list of countries of particular concern because of the lack of protection for Shia communities in the country. The organization also calls for the Administration to voice its support for Congressional action stating support for hia Muslims throughout this region.

Shia Rights names Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jammat (AWSJ), and the Islamic State in Iraq and AL-Sham (ISIS) as the two groups responsible for the murder of hundreds of Shia this year alone. With these serious human rights violations receiving scant attention from policy makers, it is important that this issue make its way into the discussions of those who represent this country at the highest levels.

The text of the letter is included below:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
September 19, 2014
President Barack Obama,

We at Shia Rights Watch write this letter to you to express our dismay at the violence against Shia populations in South-West Asia. Shia communities in Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria are in fear because of brutal attacks from terrorist groups on the basis of their religious affiliation.

Shia Rights Watch represents the numerous and diverse human rights concerns of the Shia population here in the United States which numbers between 200,000 and 400,000 people as well as the concerns of Shia abroad.

In Pakistan, attacks from terrorist groups such as Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jammat (ASWJ), which is affiliated with the Taliban, have killed dozens of innocent Pakistani Shia in Karachi. Our figures show that close to 500 Shia have been killed in Pakistan this year.

In Iraq, ISIS has carried out a systematic murder campaign against Shia populations throughout the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, and Najaf. Suicide bombings and beheadings have enhanced the fear of Shia civilians in the country. A car bomb near the Al-Mubarak mosque in the Karradah area of Baghdad which is predominately Shia killed 8 people and injured 18 others. The death toll for Shia in this country is close to 8,000 for 2014.

What the world has witnessed in 2014 against Shia populations around the world has not been a culmination of isolated events, but rather the violent manifestation of anti-Shia sentiment which has been intensifying in recent years.

The Shia communities of the United States and abroad urge you to stand up for the religious freedom of Shia Muslims through two main actions. First we urge you to work with the U.S. Department of State to add Pakistan to the list of countries of Particular Concern for religious freedom. Lastly we urge you to voice your support for a congressional resolution supporting the protection of the religious freedom of Shia Muslims throughout South-West Asia.

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Alan Williams

Alan is a Global Affairs major experienced intern who has enhanced his world view by advocating for minority rights. As a young activist who belongs to African American minority group, he has dedicated his professional and academic life to research and writing about minorities who need to be heard, such as Shia Muslims. He has contributed to Shia Rights Watch news section and has conducted research in Yemen and Egypt.