Why didn't the King Respond to Mohsen Al-Asfour's Letter?

2021-01-28 - 5:21 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It seems that some are attempting to promote that the royal decree issued by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Wednesday (January 20, 2021) on the Board of Directors of the Jaafari Endowments (Waqf) was in response to recommendations made by the Waqf itself as part of its desire to enhance the efficiency of the Waqf administration.

The new royal decree authorizes the appointment and dismissal of administrators, in accordance with a decision by the Waqf Board of Directors.

Although the King does not require justification for asserting power over the Shiite Endowment, there are those who promote that the decree was proposed by the decision makers in the Shiite community. In fact, this administration represents only the ones who appointed it and the King is not devoted to the Shiite Waqf.

The King appoints the Board of Directors of the Jaafari Endowments. The appointment is not even based on a formal consultation with any religious party in the Shiite community. Prominent Shiite clerics are not satisfied with the administrations appointed by the King.

Many Waqf administrations have faced major corruption charges, however, those responsible for these crimes have not been held accountable or prosecuted. This may be an indication of the deliberate destruction of the Shitte Waqf, as well as the continued acts of theft of endowments committed by the state and ruling family figures.

At a time when the Waqf is full of corruption cases, it appears that the direct heads of the Waqf and administrations elected by the people are more transparent, professional and impartial than the Waqf administrations themselves, thus, the claim that the decree came to enhance Waqf efficiency is absurd. 

Under the new decree, the Waqf administration can "appoint or isolate the head of Waqf". Endowments Administrations will therefore combine management and control whenever they want to play this role. The combination of responsibilities is a major entryway for conflicts of interest and corruption and runs counter to nationalization.

If we assume that the King is indeed convinced of the efficiency of this new principle, and wants to give the Shiite Waqfs its privacy and implement the demands of its administrations, why did he not read the letter sent by the former Head of the Waqf Sheikh Mohsen Al-Asfour and left the matter to his cabinet minister Khaled bin Ahmed, who dismissed altogether? 

Didn't Al-Asfour raise bigger and more serious issues related to the state's approach in reducing the role of the Shiite Waqf? Didn't he ask the King to intervene to stop Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, who was preventing the Shiite circle from registering new mosques and endowments?

Didn't Al-Asfour complain about the failure of the Ministry of Housing and Municipalities to allocate lands to build Shiite places of worship? He also complained about stalling in issuing a royal order to extract modern royal documents for existing houses of worship and cemeteries that had never been issued.

All of this does not concern the King, because in short he is not concerned with the prosperity of the Shiite Waqf. Instead, he'd like to eliminate and steal it. The corruption accusations raised against  Al-Asfour remained ignored until he chose to face the Minister of Justice and Royal Court.

It seems that the King no longer accepts the idea of the existence of a Shiite community in Bahrain at all, which is evident in the dissolution of Shiite religious institutions and political societies of the Shiite majority, in addition to the fact that the King has monopoly over the management of the Shiite Endowment, turning it into a state institution affiliated with the Justice Ministry that carries no religious specialization. 

Arabic Version