International Shia day intends to increase awareness about the struggles, rights, and achievements of Shia Muslims.
This population is an underrepresented minority, violated against and marginalized. Global action is needed to accelerate Shia rights.
Declaring an International Day was a decision Shia Rights Watch made after realizing the amount of misinformation and lack of awareness that the international community has in regards to Shia communities.
The practical significance of the day revolved around raising public and governmental awareness of the human rights violations that occur against Shia Muslims, which go relatively unrecognized by international groups and organizations.
Like other International Days, such as International Women’s Day, International Day for Shia Rights allows for an inclusive conversation to occur about the issues affecting that specific group.
Moreover, the International Day for Shia Rights allowed for the continued promotion for governmental support in favor of the adoption of H.Res.105 and S.Res.69.
According to experts, Shia sects such as Zaydis, Twelvers and Ismā’īlīs account for to half of the world’s Muslim population.
Most of the world’s Shia population reside in in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Azerbaijan.
Shia are subjected to harsh religious discrimination in all countries they reside, no matter the ruling or majority religion.
Whether attacks are coming from terrorist groups such as ISIS or from the government itself, Shia living in and around the Middle East are rarely safe.
They face constant targeted limitations in their freedom of religion, and expression. Further, their peaceful protest for rights has been chronically met with imprisonment and in some cases, execution.
Hence, Shia Rights Watch (SRW) calls for an international day for Shia and human rights advocates to gather with a common goal of increasing awareness about minorities, specifically Shia Muslims and to advocate for their rights.
International Shia Day is not to promote any NGO, government or political party. It is solely to advocate for Shia rights and take action against injustice.
International Shia Day has been observed and celebrated since June 12th, 2015. This day was introduced by Shia Rights Watch as a result of the increase in oppression against Shia Muslims in different country.
Shia Rights Watch chose June 12 as the International Day for Shia Rights in commemoration of the massacre that occurred at Camp Speicher in 2014 in which ISIS militants escorted upwards of 3,000 Iraqi soldiers from Camp Speicher, an Iraqi military base previously operated by the U.S.A., to Tikrit, an ISIS controlled town 140 km north-west of Baghdad.
Once they arrived in Tikrit the soldiers were divided by religious affiliation; the non-Shia allowed to live, the Shia condemned to death by firing squad.
The Event of Mubahala was a meeting between the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a Christian delegation from Najran (present-day Yemen), in the month of Dhu’l-Hijja, 10 AH (October 631, October 631-2, October 632-3), where Muhammad invoked a curse attempting to reveal who was lying about their religious differences.
The initial effort was to invite the Najrani Christians to Islam and acknowledgement of Muhammad as a prophet.
During religious discussions of similarities and differences, the topic of the divinity of ‘Īsā (Arabic: عِـيْـسَى, Jesus) arose.
The Christians refused to accept Muhammad’s teachings about Christ and refused denying their beliefs. Muhammad invoked a mubahala (prayer curse) regarding their refusal, and included his children and wives in the call to invoke a curse.
According to a hadith in Bihar al-Anwar, Muhammad brought only selected members of his family, Husayn, Hasan, Fatimah and Ali.
The Christians were surprised and, according to the traditions, decided not to invoke a curse on Muhammad and the others.
They instead asked for peace by offering Muhammad tribute in return for protection. Islamic sources offer various explanations of the outcome.
Some narratives suggest the Christians would have perished by the end of the year if they had entered into the imprecations.
The event is commemorated annually on 24 Dhu al-Hijjah by Shia and is an inceptual argument for Shia Muslims in proving that Ahl al-Kisā’ (Arabic: أَهْـل الـكِـسَـاء, People of the Cloak) are the Ahl al-Bayṫ (Arabic: أَهْـل الـبَـيْـت, People of the Household [of Muhammad]) mentioned in the Quran.