Bahraini clerics have strongly condemned the ruling Al Khalifah regime's crackdown on Shia Muslims during the lunar calendar month of Muharram, the 10th day of which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam and grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), under the pretext of health measures.
The scholars, in a statement released on Monday, said that the restrictions have nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic in the Persian Gulf kingdom, but are rather in line with the Manama regime’s policy of sectarianism, and organized targeting of religion with the aim of imposing political hegemony on religious beliefs.
They highlighted that while participants at the mourning rituals are seriously observing health protocols, Bahraini regime forces raid and threaten the religious gatherings on a daily basis.
Bahraini regime forces have been targeting Muharram religious rituals since the past week, destroying flags, placards, and other symbols of mourning used by the Bahraini Shia community to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH), which is mourned on the tenth day of the month.
On April 19, Bahrain’s most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim said drawing up a new constitution was the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit tiny kingdom, urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing dissent.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to the imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.