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Shia Malaysians file a lawsuit against authorities over Ashura restrictions

A number of Shia Malaysians have filed a class action with the country’s Human Rights Committee over the clampdown on the Shia community during the month of Muharram.

The Shia who are mostly residents of the state of Johor have charged powerful and influential state officials of being behind the new wave of pressure and discrimination against the Shia Muslims. They have asked Malaysia’s Human Rights panel to ease restrictions against the religious minority.

The plaintiffs are those who were arrested on Day of Ashura after security forces raided mourning processions across the state. The Shia community have said in their lawsuit that their community has been under pressure for years. Children are denied access to public schools while other Muslims are told not to marry Shia girls, they said.

Some Malaysian Sunni muftis in recent years have issued fatwas against the Shia Malaysians and called them deviant. Department of Religious Affairs also increased its attacks against the Shia ahead of Muharram with forces raiding on mourning processions.

Malaysia’s state-controlled Human Rights Commission has called such policies violation of individual freedoms.

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