Malaysia Shia arrests draw criticism

malaysian_nurhmaizahA religious scholar in Malaysia blasts the arrest of more than 200 Muslim Shias, including Iranians, Indonesians and Pakistanis, at an Ashura mourning ceremony.Even though I personally don’t agree with Shia teachings and even frequently criticize and debate with them, I cannot accept the approach of the allegedly democratic Malaysian government in denying the people’s right to practice their faith,” he said.Nurhamizah Othman, a public relations officer at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department said the detainees have all been released on bail, except for two Iranians.Among the detainees were lecturers and students of higher-education as well as lawyers and government employees believed to have been operating in the area for nearly two years, Othman said.The Islamic court of Malaysia is expected to charge those arrested with ‘following a deviationist movement,’ which carries a penalty of up to two years in jail, the PR officer added.

On Ashura day, Shia Muslims hold mourning ceremonies to pay homage to martyred Imam Hossein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and the martyrdom of 72 of his companions and family members in Karbala, Iraq, over 1,300 years ago. They were martyred while fighting for justice.

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