Farmer Haj Abdullah Recounts How Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Pulled Him to Side of the Road to Tell Him He Wanted His Calf

2023-04-12 - 6:20 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Haj Abdullah was driving his own vehicle (a pick-up truck), transporting a calf he owned from one place to another, while a car was driving behind him. Suddenly, its driver started to repeatedly honk the horn to get Haj Abdullah's attention, so when he looked towards the driver, he saw him gesturing his hand telling him to stop.

Thinking that something had happened to the calf or his vehicle, Haj Abdullah stopped and got out and saw a man getting out of the passenger seat from the stranger's car. "I glanced at him and saw that he was Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa (the brother of the late Emir from 1940 to 2009)," he said.

Most Bahrainis have heard stories of the greed and theft of the king's uncle, who died 14 years ago, but Haj Abdullah had a relationship with the Sheikh, given the farm he owns, which is adjacent to one of the Sheikh's farms that he frequently visited.

"I greeted him warmly and I was thinking about what he would ask this time, but the Sheikh did not give me much time, and asked for the calf. He told me that he wants it and that it looks strong," Haj Abdullah said. Haj Abdullah was known for his quick wit. He replied by saying, "I don't want to harm you, this calf is sick and I am going to slaughter it," so Sheikh Mohammed changed his mind and went on his way.

This incident, which Haj Abdullah narrates in an interview with Bahrain Mirror, opens the topic of endowments. Sitting outside the door of his house, he points to a farm only about half a kilometer from his house, and then says, "Look at this farm, I owned it until Sheikh Mohammed decided that he wanted to take it over, so I turned it into an endowment."

He goes on to say that "Sheikh Mohammed used to ask for something and he was willing to pay the amount you specify, even if it was higher than the market price, but your refusal would mean that he would seize what he wanted without paying anything. This is what happened with many citizens, but some of us used to deceive Sheikh Mohammed by saying that what he wanted from the land or farm was an Imam Hussein endowment (Waqf), and this was an enough reason to divert his attention from what he wanted."

Haj Abdullah, 90, recounts the stories of dozens of land plots that were turned into endowments so that the Al Khalifa would not seize them over the past decades: "We are Shiites and we love Imam Hussein and his household. We used to give up a lot of lands for this purpose out of love for doing so, but one of the main reasons for the large number of endowments, especially in the form of farms and fisheries by the sea, is due to the greed of the ruling family and their attempt for decades to take over our livelihoods."

A few days ago, the Capital Municipality bulldozed the fence of a farm that was given as an endowment to the historic Sheikh Saleh Mosque in Tubli, and when the residents checked with the municipality, they were told that it was no longer an endowment, but was turned into a "private property". However, no one knows to date who the owner of this land is, but it is probably one of the influential people of the ruling family.

The many stories about the Al Khalifa family's seizure of Shia property and endowments is merely a reminder of the Al Khalifa family's mentality as an invading family. It is the mentality with which they have treated the indigenous people from the time they arrived in Bahrain to this day.

Arabic Version