Shia Persecution: Sheikh al-Nimr Brutally Executed by the State Apparatus of Saudi Arabia

Ramazan Khalidov, Takeshi Hasegawa and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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The holy Shia cleric named Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr (Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Namir) was brutally murdered by the state of Saudi Arabia. It is known that a further 46 people were also executed. However, it is the brutal murder of the holy Shia cleric that is reverberating throughout parts of the Middle East.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of Iran, rightly condemned the brutal execution of Sheikh al-Nimr. He stated strongly “The Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution… The Saudi government will pay a high price for following these policies.”

Sheikh al-Nimr hit a chord with Shia Muslims in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and in other parts of this nation. The BBC reports “He was a prominent, outspoken cleric who articulated the feelings of those in Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority who feel marginalized and discriminated against.”

America, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, is worried about the sectarian angle being further inflamed. John Kirby, a spokesperson at the U.S. State Department, referred to this reality. He stated “We are particularly concerned that the execution of (al-Nimr) risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.”

However, it appears that Saudi Arabia is upping the ante when it comes to sectarianism. This reality can be seen internationally in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. Similarly, the Shia feel alienated throughout Saudi Arabia and this notably applies to the Eastern Province. Therefore, the timing – and reasons behind the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr – will further inflame the situation internally and in other parts of the Middle East.

Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of Iraq, stressed: “Freedom of speech and peaceful opposition are basic human rights granted by divine and international laws. Violating them impacts the region’s security, stability and social fabric.”

The execution of Sheikh al-Nimr stains all nations that openly trade with Saudi Arabia.

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