The 1996 fatwa [recognizing “Sunni Islam” as the official religion of Malaysia] was a pivotal turning point that paved the way for subsequent efforts at “othering” the Shia minority, and through this to discredit and deny them their human rights.
Shia Rights Watch condemns violence-inciting speech at the Pertubuhan Ilmuan Malaysia Convention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in early January of 2020. Communication with both Malaysian and Saudi Arabian authorities have been initiated to address the abhorrent marginalization of Shia Muslims by Saudi presence in the nation of Malaysia.
Shia Muslims spend the first ten days of the holy month of Muharram in ritual mourning commemorating the death of Hussain, son of Ali, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Muharram rituals are central to the Shia faith. The nature of these rituals make this population highly visible, and thus, Shia Muslims are particularly vulnerable in …
Many in Asia look at the Middle East with a mixture of expectation of stable energy supplies, hope for economic opportunity and concern about a potential fallout of the region’s multiple violent conflicts that are often cloaked in ethnic, religious and sectarian terms. Yet, a host of Asian nations led by men and women, who redefine identity as concepts of exclusionary civilization, ethnicity, and religious primacy rather than inclusive pluralism and multiculturalism, risk sowing the seeds of radicalization rooted in the despair of population groups that are increasingly persecuted, disenfranchised and marginalized.
Saudi efforts to isolate Iran internationally are producing results in North Africa and Central Asia. Authorities and religious leaders in Tajikistan and Algeria have in recent weeks accused Iran of subversive activity and propagating Shiism while Morocco last month announced that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with the Islamic republic.
Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Mahathir is adopting policies that could reshape the Southeast nation’s relations with powerful Gulf states. A series of anti-corruption measures as well as statements by Mr. Mahathir and his defense minister, Mohamad (Mat) Sabu, since this month’s upset in elections that ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, are sparking concern in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Edited remarks at The Middle East and the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University and the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC 18-19 April 2018 There has long been debate about the longevity of the Saudi ruling family.
The plan would attempt to roll back the fallout of Saudi Arabia’s global investment of up to $100 billion over a period of four decades in support of ultra-conservative mosques, religious centres, and groups as an antidote to post-1979 Iranian revolutionary zeal.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may be seeking to revert his kingdom to an unspecified form of moderate Islam but erasing the impact of 40 years of global funding of ultra-conservative, intolerant strands of the faith is unlikely to be eradicated by decree.