Bahrain Mirror: Sheikh Maytham al-Salman, senior advisor at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), hailed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's statement when announcing the United States' International Religious Freedoms report, calling for putting an end to the persecution of Shiites in Bahrain. Sheikh Al-Salman said that the discrimination against the Shiite citizens in Bahrain has become a "state doctrine".
Al-Salman further stated that this statement and conclusion, reached by the US State Department after reviewing the conditions of religious freedom and monitoring the systematic religious-related violations of human rights committed against at least 60-65% of the religious demographic of citizens in Bahrain, calls for taking concrete measures by the US to pressure Manama to stop its continued persecution of the majority of its population.
Al-Salman stressed that the religious freedoms situation in Bahrain has worsened, especially after the Bahraini government stripped the highest religious Shiite authority in Bahrain, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim of his citizenship, arrested dozens of Shiite clerics and subjected Shi'a citizens to systematic harassment and violations for practicing their religious rites, noting that the Bahraini government placed a ban on holding the largest Shia Friday prayers since over a year.
Al-Salman considered the Bahraini Foreign Ministry's response to the report to be proof of the regime's "bankruptcy and failure to confront the reality that the world has acknowledged yet the government of Bahrain has still denied." Only the naive or mislead would doubt the fact that the Shiites are persecuted in Bahrain, he added. "International organizations and the international community can only acquiesce to this fact, as discrimination against Shiites in Bahrain has turned into a state doctrine."
Concluding his statement, Sheikh Al-Salman said that the government of Bahrain has failed to manage religious diversity and promote equal citizenship for decades. Any reform that is not based on the guarantee of equal citizenship by constitutional formulations and legal legislations will not address the roots of the human rights and political crisis".