Ayatollah Sistani Expresses Solidarity with Bahrain’s Sheikh Issa Qassim

SHAFAQNA – Top Iraqi reference, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani expressed solidarity with Sheikh Issa al-Qassim, after Bahraini regime stripped the leading Shia cleric of citizenship.

In a phone call, Ayatollah Sistani praised Sheikh Qassim praised efforts by Sheikh Qassim in defending Bahraini people’s rights through peaceful means.

“Your place is in our heart,” Ayatollah Sistani told Sheikh Qassem, stressing that revoking his nationality “won’t harm” him.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi cleric said he would make his best in a bid to defend Sheikh Qassem’s issue.

Bahraini authorities on Monday stripped Sheikh Qassem of his citizenship, raising fears of more escalation against Shia in the Gulf Kingdom.

The latest measure came less than a week after the Bahraini Justice Ministry suspended all activities of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the main opposition group in the country.

The kingdom also dissolved two other opposition groups, namely al-Tawiya and al-Risala Islamic associations.

Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman has been in prison since December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers, which he has denied.

Since mid-February 2011, Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests demanding that the ruling family relinquish power.

The Al Khalifah regime is engaged in a harsh crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the island country.

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