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Shia Oppression in Egypt: Now More than Before

Shia Oppression in Egypt: Now More than Before

9 April 2013

Egypt, a home country of many scholars and place birth of civilizations, is threatening its brilliant history by targeting Egyptian Shia.

Home to the Fatimid Empire, one of the most important imperials that was established and led by Shia Muslim leaders, it is publicly fighting the Shia faith. Change of government in Egypt was meant to bring much needed democracy and freedom to the country. Shia Muslims, as any other Egyptian, hoped the new government would keep its promises for freedom and democracy. It would become a place where Shia could peacefully practice their faith. However, now, more than before Shia Muslims are being arrested, suppressed, and advertised as Non-Muslim.

Although the Egyptian Constitution, under Article 46, provides for freedom of belief and the practice of religious rites, Shia Muslims are a minority group that is not allowed to practice their faith in public or in private Islamic centers. Salafi's and government backed clerics speared hate messages among the public to the point where most Egyptians think Shia are not even Muslim even though they believe in the same God, Quran, practice Hadj, daily prayers and Ramadhan fasting. Every day, more and more pictures, webinars and ads are posted on the internet in display of the anti-Shi’ism is growth in Egypt.

Sheikh Muhmmad Hassa, a well-known Salafi cleric, states in his TV interview that Hussainyas, or Shia Islamic Centers are not welcome in Egypt. He insists Egypt should be cleansed from Shia. Salafi clerics clearly and openly forbid Shia practices in this country.

As the result of anti- Shia movements in Egypt, many Shia- Muslims were arrested and detained for practicing their faith. Muhammad Asfour and Seyed Muhammd are among those arrested in an Ashura commemoration last year. The judge told Muhammad Asfour he had two options: to go to jail or to change his faith. In another incident, a Shia man was arrested for teaching Shia faith. His wife was divorced by court and forced to marry another man. The Egyptian government is violating many human rights articles by forcing Shia to change faith, interfering with Shia private lives, arresting and detaining them and also spreading hate messages in media and public.

Shia Rights Watch is concerned about Shia rights violations in Egypt, especially since the beginning of the Mursi government. SRW insists Shia Muslims, just like any other citizen, are entitled freedom of religion and thought. No government, religion or organization can take away any other groups’ rights. Human rights have been reported poor in Egypt and Shia rights violations are adding to the problem. SRW believes the Egyptian government must protect and defend Shia Muslims’ rights. The foundation of the new government should not be based on discrimination and hate, but on freedom and respect.

ENDS

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