After Failing Political War against Ashura, Bahrain King Wishes "Success" for Ashura Rituals

2020-09-03 - 7:54 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): After opening mosques for the first time in six months due to the Coronavirus crisis, the King of Bahrain performed Friday prayers at a private mosque in Al-Sakhir Palace. On the sidelines of the prayers, he issued an interesting statement in which he spoke about "the conclusion of Ashura commemoration" and said that he wishes "success" for the commemoration rituals.

The Bahraini king's calls came to cover up his loss of a weeks-long political war to silence Ashura, using the Coronavirus as an excuse. In the face of Shiite citizens' defiance, the authorities acquiesced to the status quo and overturned their political decision to ban them.

Instead of acknowledging defeat, the king played the role of the father who must show to the scene, as if everything can only be allowed with his permission and consent.

Once again, Ashura, without a political discourse, has defeated the prestige of the State and police as it has done for 100 years. It has proven to be the symbol of political uprising and counter-despotism.

Bahrain's obsequies (religious congregation halls) insisted on rejecting the political decision to ban Ashura rituals and opened their doors since the first night of Muharram (August 20, 2020) for limited numbers of mourners, taking into account the precautions and procedures that their regulatory capabilities allow. Some villages also openly staged mourning processions in the streets and kept a distance between participants.

The obsequies put the political authorities under the fait accompli. Its unanimity to defy the ban has led the Interior Ministry to lose its ability to impose its control and therefore completely lost its prestige. Meanwhile, the Jaafari Waqf has failed to contain the situation and remained silent.

The eternal conflict between the authorities and the Shiite community over the Ashura rituals ended this year with the cancellation of the authorities' political ban. Meanwhile, the competent medical team issued a special statement authorizing their organization on Wednesday (August 26, 2020, Muharram 6, 1442). The medical authorities officially allowed the obsequies to hold religious rituals in open outdoor squares and to organize mourning processions in the streets, under conditions and precautions they issued in a special statement. The medical team proved that banning Ashura rituals was a political decision, especially with restrictions being lifted on many shops and institutions, including schools, institutes and restaurants. It also dealt with the Coronavirus epidemic one way or another. When it came to Ashura rituals, the state could have dealt with the situation professionally, protecting the health and security of people, however, it chose to fight them and drag them into conflict, as well as foment sectarian hatred against Shiite citizens.

In his Friday sermon, the preacher of the Al-Fateh Mosque, Sheikh Adnan Al-Qattan, addressed Ashura, saying that it is an occasion to follow the footsteps of the Prophet's household, for their compassion, love, communication and love of good for all. 

Is it for the love of good that the highest Shiite religious authority in Bahrain was besieged, stripped of his nationality and sentenced to prison on political charges? Is it for the love of good that Shiite opposition leaders, clerics and politicians, remain in prison for over 10 years? Is it for the love of good that thousands of political prisoners are still behind bars since 2011 to present day? Is it for the love of good that more Shiite youths are executed every year?

The ruling political regime is just as hostile to Ashura as it has been hostile to its Shiite citizens for a century. The Interior Minister publicly accuses Ashura of being a platform for political agitation, "lack of national loyalty and patriotism", spreading "false rumors", "incitement to [regime] hatred", "distorting national achievements" and "seeking to destroy unity".

Ashura continues to annoy the authorities in Bahrain with its political rhetoric, even if indirect. It is enough that it always recalls the victory of blood over the sword, victory by sacrifice, rejection, adhering to principles and eternal opposition to injustice and tyranny. Ashura, with its religious and cultural depth, threatens the thrones of the ruling family and undermines its prestige and power, and throughout history it has been impervious and immune to surrendering to oppression, and will always be as such, and that's why the authorities hate it so much.

Sheikh Isa Qassim's immortal words continue to remind the regime in Bahrain every year that Ashura is a harbinger from history that they cannot get rid of, "the battle of Karbala remains in its both parties today and tomorrow in the home...and in all the arenas of life and society. People remain to be divided between the Hussein camp and Yazid Camp, so choose your camp."

Arabic Version