Bahrain’s main opposition bloc Al-Wefaq has criticized the holding of a conference on civilizations and cultures by Bahraini authorities in the country.
“A conference on civilizations and cultures cannot go with destroying mosques,” Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said in reference to measures by the Bahraini regime in destroying sites belonging to the Shias.
Salman welcomed the participants in the Civilizations Debate conference, which opened in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on Monday, but urged them to meet with opposition members and visit the mosques and villages destroyed by regime forces in Bahrain.
He further noted that the regime’s ulterior motive in organizing the conference is to mislead the international community, saying, “On ground, the Bahraini Authority has demolished Shia mosques, deported Ayatollah Najati, dissolved the clerics council. All these measures explain the policy of the Authority in Bahrain.”
On April 23, Bahraini authorities expelled the representative of Iraq-based Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Hussein al-Najati, in another restriction imposed against the Shia majority in the Persian Gulf country.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs also dissolved the Islamic Scholars Council of Bahrain on January 29.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
In March 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were called in to help Manama quash the anti-regime protests.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.