Bahrainis pushing for the reopening of a historical mosque
Sa’asa’a bin Souhan Al-A’abdi shrine has been kept deliberately shut for almost a decade, in another example of religious persecution.
Bahrain’s Al-Wefaq is pushing for the reopening of Sa’asa’a bin Souhan Al-A’abdi shrine, which has been kept deliberately shut for almost a decade, in another example of religious persecution.
The mosque is more than 1,300 years old and reflects the genuine history of Bahrain’s indigenous population since the first years of Islam.
Since the start of anti-regime protests in 2011, it has been repeatedly vandalized; the authorities have promised to overhaul it following the release of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)’s report but have yet to keep their word.
BICI is a panel of independent human rights experts that was subsequently tasked by Bahrain’s ruler to examine the 2011 fits of abuse.
“The manner in which demolitions were conducted and the fact that these were primarily Shia religious structures, the demolitions would be perceived as a collective punishment,” the report noted.
Sa’asa’a bin Souhan Al-A’abdi is a companion of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and is revered by both Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Its shrine is located in the village of A’askar on the southeastern coast of Bahrain.
It is one of more than 38 mosques that were either demolished or partly vandalized by the regime in a systematic sectarian campaign against Shiite religious sites during the intensive crackdown in 2011 that followed the pro-democracy protests.
In March 2011, troops from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states had rolled down Sheikh Salman Highway and past the Barbagi Mosque to help the ruling family to crush the dissent.
It was after that bloody invasion that the destruction and vandalism of mosques in Bahrain commenced. The government justified its systematic hostility by claiming that the religious sites had been violating laws.
The Shiite community – both citizens and clerics - believe that Manama must immediately stop the systematic discrimination against their religious freedoms, hold accountable those involved in this infringement on Bahrain’s ancient history, and fully renovate and assume responsibility for all the damages and vandalism caused to all the religious establishments.
The Shiite community believes it deserves a word of apology from the regime for this offense and deems this a religious insult that reflects the level of hostility practiced by the regime, which is a sort of retaliation toward Shiite citizens, a violation of religious freedom, and a confirmation of the government’s lack of sincerity in terms of implementing the BICI recommendations.
As the political dispute drags on, a few hold on to the hope that Bahrain’s open wound will heal any time soon.