Bahrain

Bahrain’s crackdown on religious bodies unhelpful: Iran

348345_Bahrain-CrackdownThe Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman says the Bahraini regime’s clampdown on religious bodies will merely “complicate” the domestic problems of the tiny Persian Gulf Kingdom.

Cracking down on “religious institutions in this country [Bahrain] will not solve problems and will only complicate them,” said Marzieh Afkham in reaction to a decision by the Manama regime to dissolve a Shia body on Wednesday.

The Iranian official further advised authorities in Bahrain to “avoid security and tribal approaches and prepare the grounds for meeting civil demands by adopting confidence-building measures.”

Earlier in the day, Bahrain’s Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry dissolved the Islamic Scholars Council, after Justice Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa filed a lawsuit against the Shia body, calling for the dissolution of the council and the confiscation of its assets.

Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society has slammed the lawsuit, saying it reflects the extent of the Al Khalifa regime’s sectarian war against the Shia population of the country.

Al-Wefaq added that destroying mosques and attacking Shia ceremonies, such as Ashura, are other examples of sectarian policies adopted by the Bahraini regime, which were first implemented nearly three years ago.

Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, calling for political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

The Manama regime’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of anti-regime protests in the kingdom. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others arrested in the Saudi-backed clampdown.

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