SHAFAQNA – Bahrain is affected by the rise of violence on the grounds of extremism and takfirism against Shia communities in the Gulf and the region, Shaikh Maytham Alsalman said, amid the absence of clear policies and legal measures against the apostasy of this community, regulations should halt the widening incitement of hate towards Shiites.
Alsalman is the director of religious freedoms at the Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights. His comments followed gunmen attacks against religious places in the areas of Demistan and Alhamala, in Bahrain, on Friday 16th Oct. The attacks came as Shia Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain (pbuth).
“This attack is linked to the previous gun attacks that took place against the Imam Baqer and Imam Sadeq mosques in 2013”, he added. “We believe the government lacks the genuine desire to deal with such crimes. Otherwise, it would have prosecuted those involved in demolishing 38 mosques, or the vandalizing of the Jawad Stores which was committed under the name of “foray” 78 times, as well as the gun attacks against mosques”.
Dr Hasan Saleh, an international relations expert with the University of Sana’a and PhD in Islamic History also stressed that such a crackdown against Bahrainis aimed to destroy any hope of a real cross-sectarian dialogue. “Bahrain is not yet a nation-state and until Bahrainis rise above their difference there will be no democracy – THAT is what the regime wants.”
Sayed Hadi Almusawi, head of the Liberties and Human Rights Department in Al Wefaq, said, “As far as I’m concerned, no results have been announced against those involved in attacking mosques or religious places”, he continued, ” if they had been prosecuted, we’ve not heard anyone has been convicted. On the other hand, we’ve found thousands of citizens convicted for their opinions”.
About the recent gun attacks in Hamala and Demistan, he said, “This is considered a very dangerous step because it has happened during the commemoration of Imam Hussain. The Ashura events take place in over 70 areas around Bahrain. Therefore, this is a serious indicator that must be faced by decisive official actions, not just in the pursuit of the criminals as the Interior Ministry said, but to prevent such things from happening in the first place, because they put social security under threat”.
Almusawi also mentioned that a mosque in Duraz area was attacked with bullets and grenades about two weeks ago.