Rampant sectarianism in Bahrain is intolerable

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SHAFAQNA – Earlier this March, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) published a joint report on government discrimination against Shia Muslims in Bahrain. See below, an excerpt from the foreward of the report and link to the full report.

The following report conclusively shows that the government has historically and is still carrying out a systematic policy of discrimination against the Shia of Bahrain. It presents itself in two volumes; the first volume focused on state violence against Shia actors, the disclusion of Shia from the political process, and government discriminatory acts against the Shia religious establishment itself. By carrying out acts of violence against Shia protesters, keeping Shia removed from actual political power, and directly targeting the Shia religious establishment, the government has succeeded in not only subjugating over half of its population, but also in motivating fringe elements of Shia society into violence, thereby justifying a self-authored sectarian narrative. In order for Bahrain to reverse course and restabilize, the government will need to fully re-examine its policies regarding the Shia with the aim of better inclusiveness and respect for the human rights of all its people.

And while several prominent rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have exerted as much pressure as possible on both Bahrain’s regime and its western partners, in view of bringing about positive change to the kingdom island, widespread repression and mass oppression have gone unabated; if anything things have gone from bad to worse.

Five years into this peaceful revolutionary movement and Bahrain’ Shia Muslim majority is being criminalized for its faith – mosques have been destroyed, holy sites have been pillaged and clerics have been battered, imprisoned and otherwise brutalized by the authorities, all under the guise of the international community.

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