UK Sunni and Shia leaders: Bahraini government should end the dangerous process against Shaykh Isa al-Qasim

UK Sunni and Shia leaders issued a joint statement on targeting of Ayatullah Shaykh Isa al-Qasim and denounced the revocation of the citizenship of opponents and curtailing of religious freedoms as repressive and authoritarian, which will exacerbate sectarian tensions.

According to Shafaqna the statement reads: starting today, the high criminal court in the Kingdom of Bahrain will hold its first session over charges brought against Shaykh Isa al-Qasim. The Bahraini Public Prosecution alleges that Shaykh al-Qasim conducted illegal religious rituals, collected funds without seeking the required authorisation and of supporting terrorism

Many in and outside Bahrain know Shaykh al-Qasim as a senior religious figure who goes to great lengths to challenge sectarianism, promote social cohesion and representative democracy, and to bring closer civil society movements and the religious clergy. The case of Shaykh al-Qasim is far from being an isolated incident. In the past religious opponents of the Bahraini regime have been targeted systematically, some losing their citizenship

The revocation of the citizenship of opponents and curtailing of religious freedoms is repressive and authoritarian, and will exacerbate sectarian tensions. It is precisely at times like this that we, representatives of the Sunni and Shi’a religious communities in the UK, call on the Bahraini government to foster trust and tolerance among its citizens, and to permit religious and political groups the right of legitimate dissent, rather than engage in exclusivist, sectarian, and divisive actions

We pray for the national unity of Bahrain and call upon all Muslims and other faith leaders to urge the Bahraini government to reverse its many divisive decision and end this dangerous process that has the potential to incite religious tensions. Moreover, we call on the government of Bahrain to treat its Shi’a Muslim citizens as co-equals with the rest of Bahraini society, to respect Shi’a religious symbols and faith leaders, and not to close the doors of dialogue so that peace and harmony can prevail.

Imam Khoei Islamic Centre, Ayatollah Sayed Fadhil Milani

Leicester Central Mosque, Maulana Shahid Raza; Chief Imam

Sunni Hanafi Sharia Council UK, Mr Ahmed Nisar Be

World Ahlul-Bayt Islamic League, Sayed Mohammed Al-Musawi

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