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Calls for transparent investigation after murder of Saudi child Open in fullscreen

Diana Alghoul

Calls for transparent investigation after murder of Saudi child

Zakariya Bader al-Jabir was allegedly killed in front of his mother [Twitter]

Date of publication: 8 February, 2019

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The murder of a child in Medina has left the Saudi Shia community shaken, with calls for a transparent investigation to uncover the motive for the attack.
Calls for a transparent investigation have been made after a child's throat was reportedly slit in the Saudi city of Medina in front of his mother late last month.

Seven-year-old Zakariya Bader al-Jabir was killed on 27 January, in what some in the local Shia community have claimed to be a sectarian act.

Rumours circulating locally and posted online claim the child was murdered by a taxi driver after his mother recited salutations for the relatives of Prophet Mohammed - deemed to be a core tradition among Muslims from the Shia sect.

"Witnesses" reportedly saw the taxi driver break the window of his car, before grabbing the boy by the back of his shirt and slitting his throat in front of his mother.

But there is no concrete evidence of any of this - the boy was killed, but the motivation behind the attack remains unknown, and no details of the alleged killer have emerged.

Authorities have yet to release any information surrounding the assault, and in the information vacuum, many in Saudi Arabia's embattled Shia community are claiming conspiracy.

Sectarianism is indeed rife in Saudi Arabia, and Shia are frequently targeted by violence and as the victims of long-standing discrimination.

And in the absence of a transparent investigation and publicly released results, it is likely that grisly rumours will continue to spread - fanning the flames of sectarianism - and the fears of a community will continue to grow. 

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