Bahraini People Protest as Whereabouts of Ayatollah Qassim Remains Unknown


Bahraini people poured to the streets of the Northern villages Abu Saiba and Shakhoura to protest the Western-backed regime’s crackdown on Shiite majority and their leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Protesters, carrying candles, rallied to commemorate Sheikh Qassim’s supporters whom the Western-backed Al Khalifa regime forces killed during a raid last month, Al Waght reported.

Five people were killed and dozens other injured when regime forces attacked Sheikh Qassim’s supporters who were staging sit-in outside their spiritual leader’s house in Diraz vilage. The clergyman’s fate remains unknown, with some reports saying he is under house arrest.

The unprecedented incursion into Diraz came days after regime’s court sentenced Ayatollah Qassim one year in jail suspended for three years and ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines on charges of the ‘illegal’ collection of funds and money laundering. The charges emanated from the collection of an Islamic donation known as Khums, which in Islam is collected and spent by a senior cleric in the interests of the needy.

Last year, the cleric was also stripped of his citizenship, which sparked repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.

Earlier, people staged a similar protest in Barbar village in Northern Bahrain. Regime forces were heavily deployed in the residential areas of Bilad al-Qadim town to confront protesters.

Bahraini forces also clamped down on a rally held in the residential area of Sar in solidarity with martyrs.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.