Sheikh Maytham Al Salman, the Head of the Religious Freedom Unit in Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights, said non-religious politicians invest in sectarianism in the Arab and Islamic regions to reach economic benefits and create social divisions in order to keep grip on or reach power.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Sheikh Maytham Al Salman, the Head of the Religious Freedom Unit in Bahrain Observatory for Human Rights, said non-religious politicians invest in sectarianism in the Arab and Islamic regions to reach economic benefits and create social divisions in order to keep grip on or reach power.
Al Salman spoke at a symposium was held by the Centre for Academic Studies on Shiites a few days ago in the Imam Al-Khoei Centre, which is based in London. The symposium discussed “The sectarian cleansing policy in Bahrain”.
Sheikh Maytham highlighted the systematic violations of freedoms and human rights that have been guaranteed in the international law under the rule of a 43 year old government while the people are deprived of electing their own government. The Bahrainis were inspired by the Arab Springs in Tunisia and Egypt, he said, the Bahrainis’ movement for democracy and freedom far from sectarianism.
“This political setback in Bahrain has aggravated the sectarian discrimination against and exclusion of citizens because of their political aspirations in some cases, or their social and religious backgrounds in other cases”, Sheikh Maytham said. “This became blatantly clear with the authority’s adoption of a strategy to deny Shiite citizens jobs in both the Defense and Interior ministries”, he added.
He said Bahrain authority has used sectarianism to create sectarian divisions on both the national and international levels to legitimize its repression of the demands movement for democratic transition, giving that the majority of the opposition are Shiite.
He pointed out that the sectarian practices in official institutions such as the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior as well as the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs have obviously revealed to the international community, the United Nations as well as international observers a complete and clear scene of deep-rooted and systematic sectarianism practiced by the Bahraini authority. He said Bahrain is suffering from three levels of sectarianism:
· First level: Sectarian discrimination: treating people unequally because of their sect, one form of sectarian discrimination is recruiting someone in a lower position in comparison with persons from other sects.
· Second level: Sectarian exclusion: citizens are excluded and marginalized from positions in the authority for sectarian reasons, such practice lead to the third level of sectarianism.
· Third level: Sectarian cleansing: the cleansing of citizens of a certain sect in the official, public and private institutions.
He added that international and national reports have shown that the authorities are adopting the third level of sectarianism in Bahrain which is “sectarian cleansing”. In October 2013, a very accurate report revealed alarming numbers regarding sectarian cleansing. The report revealed that Shiites working in the Royal Court, Ministry of Defense, Supreme Council of Defense, Supreme Woman’s Council and the Royal Charity Fund make less than 1%. He also highlighted that the report also revealed that only 15% of senior posts in all major companies in Bahrain are occupied by Shiites and that only 7 among over 100 judges are Shiites.
Finally, Al-Salman called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the United Nations to carry out an independent investigation about discrimination and sectarian cleansing in Bahrain.