Shias in Saudi

From Brian Whitaker's blog:

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Hot on the heels of the Human Rights Watch report about discrimination against Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia, I received this photo of a Shia Ismaili mosque in Khobar. Note the concrete blocks placed in front of the entrance.

According to my source, security forces stormed the building yesterday and welded its door shut. They arrested the caretaker and about a dozen worshippers who refused to leave.


The HRW report is here, it condemns the "systematic discrimination and hostility towards Shia citizens."

Meanwhile, in Egypt, officials are leveling accusations against Iran for spreading Shiism in the country. No doubt this is true -- Iran after all wants to spread its "revolution" and with it Shia ideas, just as Saudis and Egyptians have tried to spread Wahhabi or Azharite influence. But of course it also means increased discrimination against Shia Egyptians.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.