by Aden – Mohammed Nasser
A Yemeni Council on Minority Affairs issued a book documenting the Houthi violations against religious minorities in Yemen since 2015.
The book reviewed the history of religious minorities, coexistence among Yemeni social components before the militias invaded the capital, and the subsequent events that pushed top minority figures to flee the country or move to areas under government control.
The authors stated that the goal is to introduce the violations against these groups and document them at humanitarian agencies seeking to change policies that could improve their standards of living and security.
They stressed that minorities in Yemen lived in peace with the Muslim majority and that modern history has not recorded any grave violations against the religious and ethnic community, as the current situation in areas under Houthi control.
According to the book’s introduction, the Iranian-backed Houthi sectarian practices have caused a significant rift in Yemeni society, as they have targeted social coexistence.
It indicated that ethnic cleansing and religious elimination were introduced to Yemen by Houthis because it is a racist group based on discrimination.
The book reviews the grave violations and purges practiced against minorities, especially Yemenis of African origins, and Jewish, Christian and Bahai communities.
During the rule of the late President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen witnessed “remarkable progress” in human rights, but this progress suffered a significant setback after 2011, said the book.
Most of Yemen’s Jews emigrated to Israel. However, a minority refused to leave their homeland and performed religious rites without persecution. They obtained their rights like the rest of the population, but the Houthi militias persecuted them.
The book documents the stages of the Houthis targeting Jews from mid-2004 until mid-2020.
The followers of the Jewish religion reported that since the militias stormed Sanaa, their movement was restricted within their neighborhood, and they were harassed.
According to the book, they were banned from receiving visitors, and their homes were searched. The rabbi and one of his relatives were arrested. The latter remains in prison for the past seven years.
They received threats from the Houthi group to leave Sanaa, and they did indeed.
Bahai and Christian Tragedies
The book reviews the abuse that Bahais were subjected to, leading to the exile of the notables from the country and the seizure of the sect’s institutions and funds.
Houthis launched an arrest campaign, apprehending Bahai males, females, and children.
Following international pressure, the Houthis refrained from carrying out the death sentence issued against Bahai’s most prominent figure, Hamed bin Haydara.
The book asserts that Yemen witnessed the worst humanitarian situation ever since the Houthi militia took control of the capital.
The Bahais were subjected to mass and systematic persecution, like other groups, and deprived of their most basic human rights, according to the authors.
Hundreds of Bahai followers suffer almost daily from persecution and terror, including financial harassment and job layoffs.
Similarly, Christians were subjected to numerous violations, such as killing, arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, confiscation, and displacement.
The book says that the Christian minorities, with an estimated 40,000 followers, were forced to hide their beliefs, fearing for their lives.
According to the book, since the outbreak of the war, the marginalized people in the areas under Houthi control have been threatened, beaten, and pushed into battlefronts.
The minorities’ death toll reached 368, including 102 children.
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