Gov't Exploits Epidemic to Prevent Shiites from Commemorating Ashura

2020-08-12 - 10:29 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Bahraini authorities are clearly trying to take advantage of the exceptional measures of the Coronavirus pandemic and exploiting this conundrum that many countries around the globe are witnessing in order to intensify the persecution of Shiite citizens in Bahrain. This time, the authorities are trying hard, through the Interior Ministry, to attack one of the most important Shiite sect rites, i.e. Husseini rituals.

The Interior Ministry has been experiencing an unusual state of emergency for more than two weeks. It is summoning a number of administrators of obsequies and Husseiniyas (religious congregational halls) from different areas across the country. Even a group that recorded an awareness video on how to commemorate the Husseini rituals according to health restrictions in Al-Markh obsequy were summoned and threatened.

These measures started in Ramadan with the approach of martyrdom of Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb (PBUH), as the Jaffaria Endowments Directorate issued an incomprehensible decision to ban the use of loudspeakers, despite the fact that the Husseiniyas have voluntarily closed their doors since the outbreak of the epidemic in accordance with the instructions of senior Bahraini clerics.

Several months later, as the government allowed the reopening of most commercial complexes, gyms and swimming pools, it continued to impose restrictions via the Interior Ministry on anything related to mosques and Husseiniyas, which are still closed.

The Interior Ministry threatened the Husseiniya administration heads, who were summoned, with closing the Husseiniyas for 3 years and fining them 10,000 BD. In addition to that, it said that any preacher who will recite Husseini Majles (mourning ritual) will be held accountable by the ministry. The Interior Ministry also said that Husseiniyas cannot even broadcast the mourning rituals through loudspeakers to the people of the area.

What can be observed is that the Interior Ministry is preparing the scene for a new clash with the Shiite community in order to crush it and deprive it of the remaining religious freedoms it has in order to prevent the majority of Bahraini society from expressing their religious identity.

Why are obsequies and processions being dealt with differently as if they cannot apply the announced precautions and sanitary conditions? They can allow the entry of limited individuals after measuring their temperature, and will leave a distance of two meters between each person and another inside the Husseiniya, and will even provide the health authorities with all the names of those who enter the Husseiniyas and their places of residence.

Such measures are not even carried out by shopping malls or supermarkets. Doctors and health workers have even contributed to the development of a health protocol to work on during Ashura commemoration.

The time period of daily commemoration is very limited, and will not exceed an hour. Husseiniyas clearly state that they can control the movement of the audience in accordance with the health guidelines, and that they will monitor all attendees throughout the commemoration period and ensure full compliance with the procedures.

No Shiite citizen in Bahrain can understand the ban on opening obsequies in Ashura or believe that it is a precautionary issue.

Deputy Head of Public Security Abdullah Al-Zayed, known for his career in brutal repression, said in a statement that organizing activities and events is not the decision of anyone other than the health authorities. The question remains: Why is the government dragging Shiites to clashes again? Who is the beneficiary?

Arabic Version