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Bahrainis pour into streets to protest arrest of renowned Shia cleric

People take part in a demonstration in Sanabis, Bahrain, on May 22, 2023 to condemn the arrest of prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Muhammad Sanqour. (Photo via Twitter)

Bahraini protesters have taken to the streets across the country to condemn the arrest of another Shia Muslim cleric as the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty ramps up its crackdown and persecution of the members of the religious community in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, wrote in a post published on its Twitter page that a large number of Bahraini regime forces surrounded the house of Sheikh Muhammad Sanqour, the Friday prayers leader of Imam al-Sadiq Mosque in Diraz village, on Monday and handed him a summons for interrogation.

He was transferred to Public Prosecution soon after showing up a local police station.

People poured into streets and staged rallies as the news of Sheikh Sanqour’s detention broke.

Protesters rallied in the village of Sanabis to show solidarity with the prominent Shia Muslim cleric, and demand his immediate release.

Worshipers also converged at al-Fallah Mosque of the village, which lies in the suburbs of the capital Manama, and chanted slogans in a show of strong support for him.

Elsewhere in Bahrain, demonstrators demanded his release and an end to the sectarian persecution, which Bahraini people are subjected to.

The “Stop Sectarian Persecution” was widely circulated in Arabic, with social media activists indicating that the summons was made against the backdrop of a sectarian motive.

Social media users later reported heavy deployment of Bahraini regime forces in Sanabis to crush any further protests against Sheikh Sanqour’s arrest.

Majeed Milad, a leader of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said, “Sheikh Sanqour is a scholarly figure with high social prominence,” expressing full solidarity with him.

Additionally, head of the Shura Council, Jamil Kazem, described Sheikh Sanqour as a distinguished researcher in the field of Islamic studies, emphasizing that he has a moderate and reformist political discourse that only seeks the interest of the country and nation, as well as collective security and peace.

Anti-monarchy demonstrations in Bahrain began on February 14, 2011, and have been held on a regular basis ever since the popular uprising started.

Demonstrators demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power, and a democratic, just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

The Manama regime, however, has responded to demands for social equality with an iron fist, clamping down on voices of dissent.

In March 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of opposition civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to the imposition of an undeclared martial law.

The monarch, King Hamad, ratified the constitutional amendment in April 2017, bringing about further suppression of political dissent on the tiny Persian Gulf Island under the strong influence of the Saudi regime.

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