Top Bahraini Cleric Calls Prevention of Holding Friday Prayers ‘Dishonorable’
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shiite majority, Sheikh Isa Qassim, slammed the Manama regime for preventing Shiites from holding Friday prayers in the Persian Gulf country.
Following Bahraini authorities’ move to ban Friday prayers in Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque, the largest mosque in Diraz, Sheikh Qassim issued a statement, denouncing the move as “dishonorable”.
He called on the Bahraini regime to stop the ban and let the country’s Shiite Muslims to perform their religious rites.
Bahrain’s security forces have prevented worshipers from reaching the Imam Sadiq Mosque for two months. They also arrested a number of citizens, according to the Bahrain Mirror news website.
The move is part of the regime’s crackdown on the Shiite people and clergy that has intensified in the past few months.
Manama announced on June 20 that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.
The regime later said it would put the senior cleric on trial on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.”
Sheikh Qassim’s planned trials were adjourned after the prominent cleric did not appear in court.
Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.
Amnesty International and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime for the rampant human rights abuses against opposition groups and anti-regime protesters.