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US silent on repression of religious dissents in Bahrain: Lecturer

Bahraini protestors run for cover from tear gas during clashes with riot police following a protest in the village of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, on January 29, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Colin Cavell, author and lecturer from Bluefield, West Virginia, about the crackdown on religious figures in Bahrain.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: How do you feel about the current situation in Bahrain? Al-Wefaq is now dissolved, Sheikh Isa Qassim’s deportation or at least the revocation of citizenship is a reality. How do you feel about where things are going now?

Cavell: Since June 20th when the Bahraini government revoked the citizenship of the country's prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, there have been daily protests on the sheikh’s house in the village of Diraz. And the military has set up checkpoints all around the village to prevent as many people from coming in as possible and they've also shut down all internet connection and cellular connections in the village making it very difficult for sheikh Qassim to communicate with anybody outside of his village.

So you’ve had daily protests against this revocation of his citizenship. You’ve had the government shut down all of the opposition, all of the political leaders in Bahrain. They’ve even been in prison like Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, Ibrahim Sharif or Dr. Abdul Jalil al-Singace, Hassan Mushaima and Sheikh Ali Salman or they've been forced into exile like Zainab al-Khawaja and her sister Maryam al-Khawaja or their citizenship had been revoked like Sheikh Isa Qassim or they’re repeatedly jailed, released then re-arrested and imprisoned again like Nabeel Rajab.

So, what you have is a total shutdown of Opposition in Bahrain and I think the opposition has to decide are they going to continue to just wait for this regime to come up with any proposals? because the history has shown that they have no desire wanting to make any concessions to the Opposition. So, I think the ball is in the opposition's court now and they have to re-examine their tactics and decide whether they want to put forward a new program, a new constitution and work for that or not.

Press TV: I’m wondering just recently Bahraini religious scholars got together and released a report saying their religious freedoms were under attack. And we've even had of course Friday prayers being banned in certain places and just like Diraz in fact, but yet Bahrainis are standing strong and going out and praying in those very mosques where they're banned to hold Friday prayers. I'm wondering why aren't we hearing the United States or other Western countries who stand for religious freedoms, at least to say so, why aren't we hearing protest from them?

Press TV: Well, it's clear that the United States has given its silence over the past few years since 2011 no matter what the Al Khalifa monarchy does, who they imprison, how many people they kill, how many Mosques are destroyed. The United States is completely hypocritical. They do not support a religious freedom as a general principle.

They supported only selectively depending on their hegemonic and imperialist aims and they will utilize it against the regime's they want to target but as far as their allies for example Bahrain or Saudi Arabia they are completely silent. And thus exposing their hypocrisy and that their supposed support for human rights, religious freedom, democracy is a charade. It is a false front.

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