It is with the deepest grief and sadness that Muslims around the world received news of the martyrdom of Shaykh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr at the hands of the Saudi regime. Shaykh al-Nimr was a courageous human rights activist who stood up for true Islamic values and for the rights of the oppressed. His message transcended national borders and all barriers of sect and ethnicity, and he emphasized the principle of human rights and dignity and the fraternity of Muslims, Sunni and Shia, against their oppressors both within and without the Muslim world.
Standwithdignity.org, condemns these executions in the strongest possible terms and calls on the international community to stand up to its responsibilities towards the oppressed and suffering people of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has been committing human rights violations inside and outside the Kingdom for decades, and continues to suppress peaceful protests with unrelenting violence and force. This is a systematic policy to hold on to absolute power, whatever the costs, and further the Kingdom’s interests at home and abroad.
Execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr may spark new unrest among Saudi Arabia’s Shiites, largely concentrated in kingdom’s east.
The life and vision of Shaykh al-Nimr, and the many other like-minded heroes found in our Muslim ummah, has nothing to do with a struggle between Sunni and Shia Muslims or a conflict between Arabs and Persians. Such labels anddivisions are useful only to those who profit from conflict and hatred within society, and they do nothing to further the shared aspirations of the people of the region and the world for dignity, peace, and preservation of the rights of all.
It is a great tragedy that throughout the postcolonial period in the Muslim world, our countries and societies have suffered under authoritarian, exploitative, and disconnected governments, many of whom have been allied with and supported by their former colonizers. For the people of these societies, it has been a continuous struggle to obtain even their most basic rights and to assert the popular will and values, let alone to create a system in which dignity, justice, and welfare are afforded to all.
In the midst of such a struggle, leaders and spokesmen such as Shaykh al-Nimr have been exceedingly rare. He was clear-sighted and uncompromising in his principles, courageous in the face of threats and persecution, and adamant that his movement remain peaceful and inclusive for all members of society.
Inspired by the example of the Prophet of Islam and his progeny, and in particular the Prince of Martyrs, Imam Husayn, Shaykh al-Nimr spoke up for those whose voices were suppressed, regardless of their race or creed. His death is a loss for all who share his noble values and commitment to justice, a grief borne by Sunni as well as Shia, Muslim as well as non-Muslim. And his cause is one that we must carry collectively, by remaining vigilant against voices that may wish to distract us with sectarian, ethnic, or national divisions.
On behalf of the stand with dignity , we condemn in the strongest terms the execution of Shaykh al-Nimr and the related efforts to stir up trivial divisions among Muslims. We express our gratitude and appreciation to the leadership of ISNA (Islamic society of North America), ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America), and others who have taken a principled and clear stance on these events. We ask our government to clearly and explicitly condemn this miscarriage of justice. And we pray to Allah to guide the Muslim community to maintain and strengthen its bonds of unity and goodwill, and to respond with grace and maturity to the many challenges we face in the present time.
The following text is the letter that Sheikh Nimr left to his mother:
For My Patient Mother Umme Ja’far’:
My mother! always be grateful to God and accept the fate that is awaiting to you; because what God has foreordained for you is more better than its human one, and what he has chosen for us is more wisely than what we want for ourselves; It is true that we need to pray and to ask him anything but he knows our interests better than us.
Praise be to God, who orders people while they are living under the shadow of his rule, [so] nobody can change anything unless the will of God be at that way. My mother! Be aware that God is seer of what people are doing even the smallest one and [our works] are not out of his will; it is enough for us to know that what happens to us are only on the basis of divine providence and nothing else.
At the end, I leave you and all people to God who is the best guardian and protector.
Nimr Baqr al-Nimr (Arabic: نمر باقر النمر) (or Nimr Baqir al-Namr, Nimr Bakir al-Nimr, Nemr Baqir al-Nemr) is an independent Shia Sheikh in al-Awamiyah, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. He is popular among youth and critical of the Saudi Arabian government. He claimed that he was beaten by Mabahith when arrested in 2006. In 2009, he criticised Saudi authorities and suggested secession of the Eastern Province if Saudi Shias’ rights were not better respected. A warrant for his arrest was issued and 35 people were arrested. During the 2011–2012 Saudi Arabian protests, al-Nimr called for protestors to resist police bullets using “the roar of the word” rather than violence, predicted the overthrow of the government if repression continued, and was seen by The Guardian as having “taken the lead in the uprising”.
On 8 July 2012 al-Nimr was shot by police in the leg and arrested, in what police described as an exchange of gunfire, however many human rights groups have described police accounts as “fantastical.” The Asharq Center for Human Rights expressed concern for al-Nimr’s health during his hunger strike on 21 August, calling for international support to allow access by family, lawyer and human rights activists.
On 15 October 2014, al-Nimr was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court for “seeking ‘foreign meddling’ in Saudi Arabia, ‘disobeying’ its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces” and his brother, Mohammad al-Nimr, was arrested on the same day for tweeting information about the death sentence.
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