Bahrainis demonstrate in support of top Islamic cleric
Scores of Bahraini people have staged fresh protests in a northern region to express solidarity with prominent cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim and his supporters, who have been subject to a heavy-handed regime crackdown.
The protesters took to the streets in the northern village of Abu Saiba on Friday to voice their anger at the Bahraini regime’s continued siege against the house of Sheikh Isa Qassim and the crackdown on anti-regime activists.
The demonstration marked the 80th day of the top Shia cleric’s detention under house arrest.
Sheikh Qassim is the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, who was stripped of his citizenship on June last year over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote “sectarianism” and “violence.”
He has denied the allegations.
In May, the cleric was convicted in a court of “illegal collection of funds and money laundering” and sentenced to one year in jail suspended for three years. The charges emanate from the collection of an Islamic donation called Khums, a religious practice by a senior cleric in Shia Islam to collect and spend donations in the interests of the needy.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.