Shia Rights Watch Publishes Statement on International Shia Day

June 12 marks International Shia Day, a day dedicated to recognizing hardships Shia Muslims as a minority group face. Shia Muslims make up half of the world Muslim population. Yet, despite their vast existence, they have one of the highest rates of discrimination and violent targeting worldwide.

Shia Muslims are subjected to discrimination, imprisonment, and even execution for practicing their beliefs by not just terror groups, but also by governments who have systematized anti-Shiism within their domestic and foreign policies.

Violence against Shia Muslims does not differentiate victims by age, gender, location, or socioeconomic status. In 2020, sentiments of Shia Muslims led to the massacre of newborns pregnant women in Kabul, Afghanistan, leaving a scene so horrific that Doctors Without Borders head of programs in Afghanistan, Frederic Bonnot said, “It’s shocking. We know this area has suffered attacks in the past, but no one could believe they would attack a maternity ward. They came to kill the mothers.”

The year 2020 showed the world that agents of Anti-Shiism not only ostracize Shia Muslim existence; they also disfavor humanitarian actions post-violence. This was most recently seen in the death of 19-year-old Aya Hashem and the abrupt withdrawal of donations to help her family after she was identified as Shia Muslim.

In 2019, an approximate 3,540 incidents of imprisonment, denaturalization, injury, loss of life, life-sentences, kidnapping, denial of services, arrests, and property damage targeting Shia Muslims were reported by Shia Rights Watch. The organization noted that this number is just the tip of the iceberg as the majority of Anti-Shia violence is not stated in fear of persecution. Not only do people not report violence, they actively withhold their religious identity.

This International Shia Day, Shia Rights Watch calls on all individuals to stand proud in support of individual rights to exist. We all have the right to express our identities without the fear of being targeted. The right to Be is regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, and 2020 is the year to stand up for our brothers and sisters in humanity.