In the name of the Most High
مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَي نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلا
“Among the believers are men who were true to their covenant with Allah; some of them have fulfilled their vow (by martyrdom), and some are still awaiting and they have not changed in the least” (Quran Chapter 33 Verse 23).
The Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa (AFOSA) condemns in the strongest terms the execution of Senior Muslim Scholar, Ayatullah Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr and various other human rights activists by the Saudi regime on 2 January 2016.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the only country in the world that is named after a family, has been ruled by a despotic monarchy for decades who rule with an iron fist and crush any attempt to verbalise your grievances, let alone the expression of dissent.
Saudi Arabia is supposed to be the current chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council but is guilty of the worst Human Rights abuses inside its country, through the consistent brutal silencing of its people, and outside its country through its current illegal direct war against sovereign Yemen and indirect but undeniable support for extremists groups like ISIS who are fighting its proxy war against countries like Syria and Iraq and have caused the worst instability in the region.
It should be placed on record that Sheikh al-Nimr led a purely peaceful movement that did not call for any armed resistance against the Saudi Regime whatsoever as he proclaimed that “the roar of the word is mightier than the sound of bullets.” His call was consequently for:
- Free and fair elections in Saudi Arabia which would protect and entrench the rights of its citizens;
- Reform of the educational system that has promoted a narrative of sectarianism that is responsible for much of the violence in the Muslim world today;
- Recognition of Shiasm as a legitimate sect within the broader house of Islam;
- Recognition of the sizeable Shia community, particularly in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (amounting to over two million people) and its religious, cultural and political rights.
- The reconstruction of locations representing the key symbols of Islam, such as the mausoleums of the Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) in the cemetery of Baqi in Madina, which have been destroyed by the regime.
A call for these legitimate demands resulted in Sheikh Nimr being arrested on various occasions and being shot and arrested in 2012 and finally sentenced to death.
The actual following through of the execution of this great martyr proves the weak psychological state that the Saudi regime finds itself in as its economy has been adversely affected by the crash of the oil price, it has effectively lost the war in Yemen against a militarily ill equipped people, and the takfiri groups that it created like ISIS have started to operate inside Saudi Arabia itself.
The illogical and insane actions of this regime are indicative of its imminent decline and the phenomenon of the international outcry to this shocking execution shows that the prayer of Sheikh Nimr for his death never to be “in vain” has been answered.
In keeping with the international outrage at this incident, South Africans are well placed to relate to the impact of Human Rights abuse as we have a legacy of having fought the apartheid regime.
Consequently, AFOSA calls upon:
- All South Africans to create awareness of this incident through writing letters to the editors of all major newspapers for publication, radio programmes which highlight this event and the broader political reality inside Saudi Arabia; placard demonstrations outside the Saudi Embassy in Pretoria, the effective use of social media for this purpose, etc.;
- All South Africans to lobby the South African government to place diplomatic pressure on the Saudi government to bring about political reform in that country; and
- The South African government to call upon the United Nations to expel Saudi Arabia as the chair of the Human Rights Council.
May the eternal peace rest on your soul O Sheikh Nimr, as you are a product of the School of Karbala wherein your spilled blood will be the cause of the defeat of a monarchy that the world of Islam is yearning to see defeated.
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
5 January 2016