American Center for Justice (ACJ) Condemns Houthi Ban on Tarawih Prayers in a Number of Mosques

American Center for Justice (ACJ) condemns preventing the worshippers from performing the Tarawih prayer in areas under Houthis control and expresses its concern at the harassment, abuses and violations committed by Houthi gunmen against some civilians who were performing Tarawih prayer during the holy month of Ramdhan. In a violation of international laws and treaties providing for the right of religious observance and worship in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Houthis continue to raid the mosques, arrest Imams, and prohibit Tarawih prayer in more than one Yemeni Governorate. 

ACJ monitors have documented a number of incidents in more than one Yemeni governorate showing the extent of violations perpetrated by the Houthi group in their areas of control. In Al-Mahwit province, the group banned Tarawih prayer in city’s the biggest mosque and in the historical mosque known as “Masiah”. Following the Isha prayer, the Houthi supervisors opened televised lectures of the Houthi Leader “Abdulmalek Al-Houthi” and force the worshippers to listen to the lectures and not to leave the mosque. On 8 Ramadhan, corresponding to 20 April 2021, a Houthi supervisor called “Abo Ayman Al-Shahethi” insulted an old man aged 60 years inside the mosque under the pretext of expressing anger and annoyance at the lectures imposed on the prayers. In Dhamar governorate, Houthi gunmen broke into 4 mosques including the Great Mosque in Hurur village of Maifa’a Ans district, on the afternoon of April 14, 2021 where they arrested both the imam and the preacher of the mosque Abdulrahman Al-Basir and Abdulkafi Al-Basir. Also, they stormed alSaeed Mosque in Dhamar on 15 April as well as arresting the imam of the mosque Yousef Al-Halmani. In addition to, the Houthi elements broke into Bagah Mosque in the market of Ans and Al-Khair Mosque in Dhamar city where people were banned from praying Tarawih.

American Center for Justice (ACJ) denounces all such violations committed by the Houthi group against those whom it considers contrary to them in religious rites and demands that the Houth group immediately cease imposing restrictions on religious practices. It also calls the Houthi group to stop such practices and violations perpetrated against the citizens and to release all the detained arrested in this cause.

The Center calls upon all human rights institutions to take serious actions to stop such violations and abuses which expand the conflict cycle, help destroy the fabric of the Yemeni society and eliminate the diversity by fueling the sectarian and racial animosity, stressing that religious freedom is a principle that supports the individual or group to private or public life by displaying their religious rites, whether through education, practice or celebration.

American Center for Justice (ACJ)

May 3, 2021

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