Saudi Shias must unite in demanding rights: Analyst

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An analyst has called on Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia to unite in their struggles to safeguard their rights against the ruling Al Saud regime.

“The Shia population is now more and more being assertive in demanding its rights. What should happen is that they should unify as much as possible because, unfortunately, the situation of the Shia in Saudi Arabia is fragmented,” Mofeed Gaber, a political analyst from Beirut, told Press TV on Sunday.

He urged Shias to “unify the ranks more and more in order to ask for more rights from the government.”

“What is happening now in Saudi Arabia shows that the Shia population is no longer willing to stand silent in the face of the severe persecution that it is enduring in the hands of the al-Saud. This is something that is long overdue,” Gaber said.

“The Shias in Saudi Arabia have long been asking in more peaceful ways for more rights. But, unfortunately, the Saudi government has not been responsive. They might eventually have to move towards being more organized because, as I said, they are the majority in the Eastern Province.”

Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province has been the scene of numerous demonstrations by Shias since 2011.

On Friday, Demonstrators in the Qatif region in Eastern Province slammed the regime’s suppression of the Shia population in the country.

Protesters also expressed solidarity with jailed clerics, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Sheikh Nimr was attacked and arrested in Qatif in July 2012.

A Saudi court recently sentenced Sheikh Nimr to death. However, the final ruling has been postponed.

Meanwhile, another court has also given leading Shia cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amr an eight-year jail term and a ten-year travel ban. He has also been barred from delivering religious sermons.

International human rights organizations have criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to address the rights situation in the kingdom. They say Saudi Arabia has persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Activists say there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

 

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