I Pledge - 2016
This year International Shia day is to honor Nigerian Shia Muslims.
In December 2015, Nigerian security forces violently stripped the existing Shia community of their basic right to practice their belief system. As it was reported and investigated by Shia Rights Watch and all other human rights NGOs, local forces attacked Shia Muslims during a 48 hour window. The military crackdown of the local Shia religious center left not only the center in ruins, but also lead to the injury and death of more than 400 men, women and children. Local activist report the death of over 1000 people in the next 48 hours and stated many more disappeared since the attack. Atrocious dehumanization of the Nigerian army did not cease with the life of those killed, but was furthered as the bodies of those slain were taken and disposed of in a mass grave, some of which was discovered months later. Families of the deceased were not given the opportunity to see their loved ones, bury them or even know where their graves were located. Families remain grieved by the knowledge that their loved ones were not buried according to their Islamic laws of burial. During the same attack, Shia scholars such as Sheikh Zakzaky, whose three sons were killed in clashes between the army and pilgrims in a religious procession in 2013, were arrested. The army also detained more than 200 of his followers after the clashes of 2015.
Moreover, residents of the city say bulldozers demolished leaders’ residences, a Shia shrine, a prayer hall, clinic, and cemetery. Witnesses also reported that the soldiers broke down the door of a room where people were receiving medical treatment, killed everyone in the room and then set some of the bodies on fire.
Rose 4 Roses Campaign- 2015
The 2015 International Day of Shia Rights was the first annual Shia Rights Day hosted by Shia Rights Watch. The campaign had three different parts, one strictly local, one national, and one global so that it could reach people from all over the world. The rose for a rose campaign was local and consisted of several volunteers handing out 550 roses for two days near the Farragut North and DuPont Circle metro stops in Washington, D.C. Each rose was symbolic of one of the 550 imprisoned Bahraini Shia youth. Although roses were only given locally, many people tweeted it or shared their roses on other internet platforms making the campaign known to a much wider audience than just the people who received the roses. The legislative campaign, which was national called for people to contact their local congressmen or congresswomen to show their support for legislation dealing with religious minority freedom and rights. There was no way to tell how successful the legislative campaign was. Finally, the social media campaign in which people across the world were encouraged to discuss human and religious rights for minorities via the hashtag #612ShiaDay reached across the globe gaining internet traction even in the Middle East. The hashtag became viral during this period. Each part of the campaign helped to ensure that people across the globe could take part in International Shia Day in some way, shape or form.
The 2015 International Day for Shia Rights had three different campaigns…
- 1. Social Media Campaign: Using the hashtag #612ShiaDay participants were encouraged to reach out and engage in a discussion regarding minority rights and human rights violations around the world.
- 2. ‘Rose for a Rose Campaign’: Over the course of two days volunteers handed out 1100 roses, 550 each day, as a metaphorical representation of the 550 imprisoned youth in Bahrain.