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Top Bahraini cleric slams opening of new Israeli embassy in Manama

Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani officially inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama, Bahrain, on September 4, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Bahrain's most prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has denounced the ruling Al Khalifah regime for allowing Israel to open a new embassy in the capital Manama, warning that the step is in line with the destructive and unconstructive role that the Tel Avic regime plays in the region.

Sheikh Qassim said in a statement on Saturday that the inauguration of the diplomatic mission represents a declaration of war against the God, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and all Muslims worldwide.

He pointed out that “moharebeh” or “war against God” is among the most critical issues that believers must deal with, stressing that the menace must be dealt with properly in order for truth to prevail over falsehood and the religion of Islam to be preserved.

On September 4, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen attended an official ceremony to open the regime’s embassy during a visit to the Bahraini capital of Manama, which included a delegation of businessmen and regime officials.

The ceremony was attended by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, who said the “new embassy assumes a pivotal role” in growing collaboration between the two sides.

Cohen and his Bahraini counterpart discussed ways to expand cooperation in trade, investment, technological exchange, training, and tourism, according to Bahrain News Agency. 

The embassy in Manama will replace the first mission Israel opened in 2021, a year after establishing diplomatic relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as part of the United States-brokered Abraham Accords.

Sudan and Morocco followed suit later in the year and inked similar deals.

The move sparked widespread condemnations from the Palestinians as well as nations and human rights advocates across the globe, especially within the Muslim world.

Palestinians say the deals are a treacherous “stab in the back” and a betrayal of their cause against the decades-long Israeli occupation.

Cohen's trip to Bahrain was met with a wave of condemnations from Bahraini people, civil institutions as well as religious and political communities.

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