Posts

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the execution of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, Britain, January 3, 2016. Toby Melville/Reuters

ISNA and ICNA condemn killing of Saudi Shia cleric

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the execution of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, Britain, January 3, 2016. Toby Melville/Reuters

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the execution of Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr An-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, Britain, January 3, 2016. Toby Melville/Reuters

By Aatif Ali Bokhari

TMO Managing Editor

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have condemned the execution of Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir An-Nimr and three other Shia activists this week. ICNA and ISNA are two of the largest Sunni Muslim umbrella organizations in North America.

Sheikh Nimr had criticized the Saudi government’s treatment of the Shia religious minority and had called for political reform.

In a statement, ISNA President Azhar Azeez said, “The actions taken by the Saudi government against its critics like Sheikh Nimr in the name of counter-terrorism undermine the unity of the worldwide Muslim community and violates the protection of religious minorities.”

ICNA also released a statement that denounced the execution.

“ICNA believes that all citizens of any country have the right to voice their opinion peacefully and these executions go against the universal concepts of justice and freedom,” said the statement. “We believe that these executions undermine Shia-Sunni relations and makes peace in the Middle East, the main objective of Muslims in the region, a more difficult goal to achieve.

“ICNA appeals to all political leaders and religious scholars in the U.S., the Middle East and everywhere else to work vigorously for the unity and harmony among all Muslims.”

Reaction to the statements on ISNA and ICNA’s Facebook pages was highly polarized, with some in support of Saudi and its allies and others in support of Sheikh Nimr. Khalid Goncalves was one who appeared for calm on both sides.

“The powers that be want Muslims to fight each other. To them, there would be nothing worse than a truly united ‘ummah. Please don’t fall for the extremist rhetoric on either side. Condemn all unjust killings and engage in dialogue with your Sunni and Shi’i brothers and sisters,” he said.

Saudi Bans Domestic Workers from Indonesia, Philippines

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday it would stop granting work permits to domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines, following hiring conditions imposed by the Asian countries.

The ministry of labour said it would “stop issuing work visas to bring domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines, effective from Saturday” due to “the terms of recruitment announced by the two countries,” according to a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

“The ministry’s decision coincides with its great efforts to open new channels to bring domestic workers from other sources,” said the statement in English quoting the ministry’s spokesman Hattab bin Saleh al-Anzi.

Last week Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono denounced the beheading in Saudi Arabia of an Indonesian maid and accused Riyadh of breaking the “norms and manners” of international relations.

His comments signaled Indonesia’s growing anger over the treatment of its manual laborers in the Gulf countries, after a spate of cases of abuse and killings.

Ruyati binti Sapubi, 54, was beheaded on June 18 after she was convicted of killing her Saudi employer, prompting Indonesia to recall its ambassador in Saudi Arabia for “consultations.”

Indonesia also announced a moratorium on sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia, where hundreds of thousands of Indonesians toil as maids and laborers.

Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have also clashed over the working conditions of Filipina domestic workers in the oil-rich kingdom.

Earlier this year the Philippines asked Saudi Arabia to guarantee higher pay for Filipina housemaids but the request was turned down.

The Philippines demanded $400 in monthly wages for for housemaids but Saudi authorities offered a base monthly salary of $210, Filipino labor official Carlos Cao had told AFP in Manila in May.

Manila had also demanded proof that that Saudi households employing Filipina housemaids would pay and provide humane working conditions.

Rights groups say millions of mostly Asian domestic workers are regularly exposed to physical and financial abuse in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states due to poor or absent labor laws.

13-27