SHAFAQNA- Bahrain government perpetuates systematic economic discrimination, against Shia Muslims including through sectarian hiring practices in both the public and private sector. The greatest example of this practice is in Bahrain’s security and defense forces. Bahraini Shia also face discrimination in education and the distribution of government services.
The policy of Bahrain government has been trying to deprive Shia from social significance and authorities. The Shia population faces marginalization in economic and labor sectors. Representatives of the Shia community reported the higher unemployment rate and lower socioeconomic status of Shia Muslims were exacerbated by continued discrimination against hiring of Shia in the private as well as the public sectors, state.gov reported.
Shia remain almost wholly outside the decision-making and legislation-authoring sections of the government, and are barely represented in government emergency sector personnel, including the government security forces and military. In 2011, the government went so far as to dismiss several thousand Shia Muslims from their jobs. Bahrain’s security forces, in particular, are notably sectarian in their hiring practices, allowing Bahraini Shia to hold only low-level or administrative positions.
They comprise less than five percent of the security sector, indicating larger sectarian and discriminatory practices. Beyond systemic employment discrimination, Bahrain’s Shia community has faced additional negative economic impacts from the thousands of Shia political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who are unable to support their families while in government custody. Because access to government services remains unequal, particularly to Shia communities, various local Shia charities have attempted to serve as a lifeline supporting the effected families. However, officials have targeted and shut down Shia charities, creating further strain on families relying upon them and the Shia community as a whole.
Furthermore, although Shia Muslims are the vast majority of Bahrain’s citizen population, official corruption, crony capitalism, and a lack of transparency coupled with uneven development practices and a disparity of wealth, have seen them disproportionately confined to Bahrain’s lower socioeconomic strata.