Bahrain prevents prominent Shia cleric from traveling to Iraq to commemorate Arba’een

Bahrain prevents prominent Shia cleric from traveling to Iraq to commemorate Arba’een

Bahraini authorities have prevented a prominent Shia Muslim cleric from traveling to Iraq to join masses of pilgrims from around the world marching to the holy city of Karbala to commemorate Arba’een, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam.

As part of the Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed measures against members of the majority religious community in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, the officials did not allow the president of Bahrain’s dissolved Shia Clerical Council, Sayed Majeed al-Mishal, to depart Bahrain for Iraq.

The authorities did not provide any reason for the restrictive measure, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

Bahrain’s Shia community has long complained about discrimination and marginalization at the hands of the West-backed regime. 

According to human rights organizations, Bahraini authorities have imposed heavy curbs on the religious freedom of the majority community since the outbreak of the popular uprising and nationwide protests in 2011.

Bahrain’s Al Khalifah regime bans Shia visits to Iraq, Syria

Last month, Sheikh Hussain al-Daihi, the deputy secretary general of Bahrain's dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, condemned Bahraini officials' stringent restrictions on Shia citizens and prevented them from taking part in Ashura mourning rituals.

He said the practice falls within the framework of a “racist policy that has been nurtured in recent years.”

Sheikh Daihi pointed to the “deep rift between the Bahraini nation and the Manama regime,” arguing that Bahraini authorities are misappropriating state institutions in order to target Shias, their religious halls and preachers, and whoever disobeys the orders will be punished harshly.

“Shias in Bahrain do not seek to overthrow the ruling regime and establish their own rule. At the same time, they do not accept the ongoing imposition of tailored principles and certain religious orientations on them. Educational curricula, media reports as well as judiciary and security bodies are all being misused for the sake of suppressing Shias. This is the most contemptible level of tyranny,” he pointed out.

Every year on Arba’een, millions of people from around the world flock to Karbala. Large groups of mourners travel on foot toward the holy city to take part in the largest annual Islamic gathering on earth. The ceremony falls on September 27 this year.

Imam Hussein (AS) and his 72 companions were martyred in the Battle of Karbala in southern Iraq in 680 AD after fighting courageously for justice against the much larger army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I.

Bahraini regime tightens crackdown on Shias ahead of Ashura commemorations

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since the popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

People demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any form of dissent.

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