There is grave danger for Iraqi Shia

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WASHINGTON, June 28, 2014 – The rapid southward spread of ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) not only exposes the security flaws of the new Iraqi government, it signals grave and imminent danger for Iraq’s Shia community.

Shia families throughout the country now fear for their lives as this recent insurgency has both threatened and carried out deadly attacks on their communities.

Bombs ripped through the Iraqi provinces of Baghdad, Karbala, and Basra on Wednesday June 11, 2014. A small routine gathering of Shia tribal leaders in Baghdad quickly morphed into a morgue as a bomber blew himself up inside of the tent they were meeting in. Karbala, a city with a large significance to the Shia community around the world because of the shrine of Hussein ibn Ali, was the sight of an attack when a car bomb that killed 4 people and wounded 13 others on the same day.

Shia rights watch calls these actions that have been taken by this terrorist group deplorable and unwelcome as they create an inhabitable environment for Shia communities both in Iraq and around the world.


More recently, on Monday June 16, 2014 militants from ISIS posted a video of themselves torturing and killing unarmed Shia soldiers. In the video one of the militants is heard saying “Praise to Allah, whether he is a believer or not, I killed him. I killed a Shia! I killed a Shia!” after he shot and killed a soldier who refused to say “Baqiya” which is the ISIS slogan.

Shia rights watch, in agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Human rights, is describing these actions as war crimes.

According to Article 1 of the Convention against Torture, the legal definition of torture is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession”. The beatings that these unarmed Shia soldiers had to endure because these militants wanted them to shout their slogan is clearly in violation of that article. Shia Rights Watch is calling for the international community to recognize these actions as war crimes and collectively condemn them.

In addition Shia Rights Watch calls on the international community to ensure the protection of shrines and civilians. To further ensure the protection of civilians Shia Rights Watch is asking the United Nations to set up safe camps for Iraqis inside Iraq’s borders.

It is time that the international community stand up to the forces that wish to make the lives of the Shia community intolerable and ensure a safe a prosperous community for the Shia community throughout the world.

 Hussain, Ali's younger son and brother to Hasan, initially resisted calls to lead the Muslims against Muawiyah and reclaim the caliphate. In 680 CE, Muawiyah died and passed the caliphate to his son Yazid. Yazid asked Hussain to swear allegiance (bay'ah) to him. Ali's faction, having expected the caliphate to return to Ali's line upon Muawiyah's death, saw this as a betrayal of the peace treaty and so Hussain rejected this request for allegiance. There was a groundswell of support in Kufa for Hussain to return there and take his position as caliph and imam, so Hussain collected his family and followers in Medina and set off for Kufa. En route to Kufa, he was blocked by an army of Yazid's men near Karbala (modern Iraq), and Hussain and approximately 72 of his family and followers were killed in the Battle of Karbala.  The Shias regard Hussain as martyr (shahid), and count him as an Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt. They view Hussain as the defender of Islam from annihilation at the hands of Yazid I. Hussain is the last imam following Ali whom all Shiah sub-branches mutually recognise.[21] The Battle of Karbala is often cited as the definitive break between the Shiah and Sunni sects of Islam, and is commemorated each year by Shiah Muslims on the Day of Ashura.

Hussain, Ali’s younger son and brother to Hasan, initially resisted calls to lead the Muslims against Muawiyah and reclaim the caliphate. In 680 CE, Muawiyah died and passed the caliphate to his son Yazid. Yazid asked Hussain to swear allegiance (bay’ah) to him. Ali’s faction, having expected the caliphate to return to Ali’s line upon Muawiyah’s death, saw this as a betrayal of the peace treaty and so Hussain rejected this request for allegiance. There was a groundswell of support in Kufa for Hussain to return there and take his position as caliph and imam, so Hussain collected his family and followers in Medina and set off for Kufa. En route to Kufa, he was blocked by an army of Yazid’s men near Karbala (modern Iraq), and Hussain and approximately 72 of his family and followers were killed in the Battle of Karbala.
The Shias regard Hussain as martyr (shahid), and count him as an Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt. They view Hussain as the defender of Islam from annihilation at the hands of Yazid I. Hussain is the last imam following Ali whom all Shiah sub-branches mutually recognise.[21] The Battle of Karbala is often cited as the definitive break between the Shiah and Sunni sects of Islam, and is commemorated each year by Shiah Muslims on the Day of Ashura.
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