Mustafa Akhwand_threat of ISIS in middle east

WASHINGTON, August 4, 2016 – Despite continued persecution, Shia are often ignored in discussions about minority difficulties in the Middle East. Georgetown University and the Department of State last Thursday organized an event under the title “Threats to Religious and Ethnic Minorities under the Islamic State,” intending to bring representatives of targeted minorities to speak about their suffering and what their communities are going through in Syria and Iraq. This comes after Secretary of State John Kerry’s remark in March 2016, “My purpose here today is to assert in my judgment (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.” As part of the agenda, the presenters were to suggest strategies “to ensure the viability of vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq and Syria.” Members of minority groups such as Yazidis, Christians, Kakai and Turkmen were invited to represent their communities. Notably absent were any Shia rights activists. Although other speakers mentioned Shia and their suffering, there were no direct discussions or Shia activists on the panel. How is that other minorities affected by ISIS are given an opportunity to talk about their struggles, but Shia and Shaback are not given the same opportunity? Shia are the largest minority affected by ISIS, not only in Iraq and Syria, but also by the ISIS-like mentality in other countries. In Iraq alone, approximately 1,500 Shia were killed during the first six months of 2016. Another attack in July killed more than 300 and wounded 215 Shia Muslims. The attack took place in the city of Balad in a busy area where young people were shopping to celebrate the Eid (End of Holy month of Ramadan). Two attacks in Kadhimiya, north of Baghdad, took the lives of more than 40 Shia Muslims. Kadhimiya is a Shia city where pilgrims were visiting their ninth Imam. In Syria, the situation is so bad that even activists cannot record and keep track of Shia victims. Beside ISIS itself, anti-Shia and ISIS-minded clerics publicly encourage and permit Shia killing. For example, “Alvisal have shown lecturer who told the viewer that Shia are (kafir) infidel and they must be killed along side of westerner.” Advocacy for any minority as one step forward in the broader human rights context. But seeing the State Department and Georgetown University ignoring the representation of Shia reinforces feelings of oppression by Shia. It also raises the very simple question, why would the United States Department of State ignore the minority most oppressed under the Islamic State? http://www.commdiginews.com/world-news/middle-east/united-states-ignores-shia-oppression-by-isis-68850/

Is Saudi Arabia any different from ISIS?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2016 — What has transformed Islam, a 1,400-year-old religion that has often spread a message of peace and nonviolence, into an inspiration for brutality? Islam’s history spans 1,400 years. Starting with the prophet Mohammad, its history was one of enlightenment, forbidding the oppression or mistreatment of minorities. People of different faiths were allowed to live and follow their own religions. Christians served as the close counselors and advisers to Islamic rulers, and when the Jews were expelled from Christian Spain, they found refuge in the Islamic world. Today, there are no Islamic countries in the world. What we see in the Middle East has nothing to do with Islam. Because most people there are Muslim, their corrupt leaders use Islamic identity to enforce their own agenda.

shia-burned-700x422

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2015 — ISIS, arguably the most violent terror group in the world, has again released video of brutal killings of Shia Muslims. In the five-minute video released on Sunday, four Shia Muslims are interviewed one by one. They are told to introduce themselves, state the Iraqi tribe they belong to, and declare that they are members of a militia that defends Iraq from ISIS. ISIS accused the men of spying and of disloyalty to the so-called Islamic state. The video is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last. Social media and independent news agencies have released videos of men, women and children of different faiths and backgrounds being held in cages and executed in brutal ways by ISIS.

stop-shia-genocide

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2014 — “There’s two kinds of people in this world,” says Will Smith in the movie trailer for Focus. “There’s hammers and nails. You decide which one you want to be.” That is an interesting way to categorize humanity, but we could add another kind of person to the list: people who watch the “hammer and nails”. Hammers are those who oppress others to gain and stay in control; nails are the people who are victimized by them, people who often wish only for equality and freedom. Hammers — terrorist groups like ISIS and governments that of Bahrain — pound on on the innocent inhabitants of their states as though they are nails in a workshop.