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Analysis

Bahraini Regime’s Ban on Shiite Pilgrimages: Objectives, Reasons

Sunday 28 August 2022
Bahraini Regime’s Ban on Shiite Pilgrimages: Objectives, Reasons

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Bahrain’s Al Khalifa Struggling to Crack Down on Ashura Cermonies

Alwaght- Bahraini regime, which has spared no effort to suppress Shiites in the past decade, has imposed new arbitrary restrictions on the travel of Shiites abroad in recent days. While Shiites, who compose majority population in the Persian Gulf kingdom, are preparing to attend the Arbaeen ceremony of Imam Hosseini (PBUH) in Iraq, the Sunni ruling Al Khalifa regime continues its constant hostility against the religious beliefs of the Shiites and intends to prevent them from making a pilgrimage to the Shiite holy places in Iraq as well as in Iran. For this purpose, the Department of Citizenship, Passport and Residency in the Ministry of Interior of Bahrain makes citizens to apply for "Request for Travel Permit" with the aim of restricting and preventing Shiites from traveling to Iraq and Iran.

The online address shows the request form specifying the destination and reasons for citizens' travel. While the citizens expressed concern about making such a sudden decision by the Ministry of Interior and approaching the Arbaeen, the world's largest annual public gathering. It is held at Karbala, Iraq[1][2] at the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual for the commemoration of martyrdom of the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the third Shia Muslim Imam, Husayn ibn Ali's in 61 AH (680 AD).

 This is while every year thousands of Bahraini citizens used to go to Iraq to participate in the Arbaeen ceremony, but this year, Al Khalifa has denied them from this auspicious ceremony.

In justifying this anti-religious plan, Bahrain's interior minister stressed that the authorities will not allow the occasion to be promoted using religious tourism, as this contradicts the approach of the Al-Khalifa government. In the meantime, the Bahrain Human Rights Center announced on its Twitter account that this measure that limits individual and collective freedoms in this country should be canceled, because this measure is discriminatory and a violation of human rights, especially against Shiite citizens.

Al-Khalifa authorities banned the travel of Shiite citizens to Iraq and Iran and participation in the Arbaeen two years ago under the pretext of preventing the spread of the Corona virus in this country, and this year when the Corona pandemic has subsided Al Khalifa has resorted to other pretexts to ban Shiites from traveling to Iran and Iraq.

Every year, with the arrival of the month of Muharram, Regime doubles security pressure on the Shiites, and extremely restricts holding mourning and mourning ceremonies. Reason behind such a brutal suppression is that Manama regime considers spread of Ashura culture among Bahraini Shiites, especially the young generation, as a danger to the continuation of its dictatorship. In this regard, Baqer Darwish, the head of the Bahrain Human Rights Defense Association, said in an interview with IRIB, "The Bahraini regime is afraid of holding the real Ashura ceremony, which is against oppression and submission to arrogance and tyranny."

 

Silencing Shiites who seek justice

The Al Khalifa considers Shiites as a serious threat to the shaky foundations of its throne, therefore, with such restrictions, intends to prevent the voice of oppressed Shiites from reaching the ears of the world. Because the dictatorial rulers of Bahrain know very well that the Arbaeen procession in Iraq, which is attended by millions of people from all over the world, is a good opportunity for the Shiites of this country to reveal Al Khalifa's crimes to against them. Therefore Al Khalifa is afraid that the Arbaeen ceremony can become a place for propaganda against them.

The Bahraini Shiites, who have been banned from any political activity in recent years, can show their protest cry without any restrictions during the Arbaeen ceremony and share their pains with other Shiites. The Ashura culture brings all Shiites under a united flag, and considering that Ashura is a true example of the justice seekers facing the arrogant and despots, the Bahraini Shiites can be the voice of the free people who have been oppressed by tyrant in other Arab states.

 

The policy of holding spiritless Arbaeen

On the other hand, Al Khalifa is obeying the orders dictated by the Saudi-American-Zionist triangle that do not appreciate the large presence of Muslims in the Arbaeen ceremony in Karbala, and therefore they are trying to Such prohibitions prevent the presence of a large number of pilgrims in the Arbaeen ceremony. Because the large presence of followers of other religions in this ceremony shows that Arbaeen is no longer exclusive to Shiites and this ceremony has become a symbol and a sign of strengthening the culture of resistance against arrogance.

Al Khalifa and Saudi rulers consider the gathering of Shiites under Imam Hussein's flag as a threat, because the unity of Shiites is considered as the axis of resistance in the region, so the greater the solidarity of Shiites with each other, the greater the strength of the resistance will be.

Although Shiites make up over 75% of the Bahrain's population, they are deprived of basic human and religious rights, and the regime does not allow them to participate in power structure of the country. Al Khalifa has depriving Shiites from political and economic Shiites activities, arrested and exiled their religious leaders, and suppressed the opposition in a bid to consolidate his throne.

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Bahrain Al Khalifa Ban Shiite Iraq Arbaeen

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