Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): On the third day of Muharram, Bahraini security services continued their ongoing campaign against Ashura manifestations in Bahraini villages and cities as part of a series of systematic and sectarian targeting repeated annually.
The Al-Wefaq Islamic National Society confirmed the arrest of two eulogy reciters Saleh Sahwan and Mahmoud Al-Qalaf after they were summoned to Al-Houra Police Station on Thursday (August 12, 2021).
This comes as part of a large-scale campaign that included summonings of a large number of citizens in various cities and regions for hanging Husseini flags atop the roofs of their homes, where they were asked to take them down and hand them over to the police station. In this context, it was reported that the only exception was the houses surrounding the obsequies and Husseiniyas.
The summonses continued late at night, especially at the 17th Roundabout police station in Hamad Town. Meanwhile, Salam's head of monitoring confirmed that "the interrogation of the citizens was carried out without the presence of a lawyer with them".
Although the Capital Governor, Sheikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, inspected a number of obsequies in the capital and met with their heads and supervisors, he praised the "coordination and cooperation shown by the heads of obsequies and Husseini processions in the capital with the concerned authorities in order to make the Ashura season successful," this was not positively reflected on the behavior of the security services, which seemed interested in adding security measures to this religious season.
Hours after his visit, which included Sanabis obsequy, civilian forces affiliated with the Ministry of Interior chased participants in a procession as they left the area and stopped them, recorded their personal data for no reason before re-allowing them to go and arrested some of them.
At least seven were reportedly arrested late at night by civilian pick-up vehicles belonging to contracting companies and a "White Nissan" belonging to the Ministry of Electricity.
At the processions staged in Manama, participants chanted "in spite of your enemy, we raise your banner", apparently in reaction to the Interior Minister's campaign against the hanging of black flags and banners.
Majeed Milad, Capital Municipality former president and Al-Wefaq secretariat member commented: "Over decades, the people of Bahrain have been accustomed to commemorating the plight of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad. What is then the reason behind the removal of grief and sorrow manifestations in various regions?" He added "Infringing on the blackness of the ten days Muharram and removing the slogans and words of Imam Hussein (PBUH) related to his triumphant revolution is not consistent with the declared religious freedoms."
A video of a group of children who were surprised that the authorities have prevented them from entering obsequies and Husseiniyas as part of national action against the Coronavirus went viral. One of the children wondered "I can go now to the compound and they let me in. I go to the park and they let me in. Why then do they prevent me from entering the obsequy?"
The Northern Province, headed by Governor Ali Al-Asfour, held an online coordination meeting for the processions in the villages and areas of the province in the presence of the deputy governor and director general of the police of the Northern Province.
Al-Asfour called during his meeting to "form a joint committee between the province, the Directorate of Northern Police, Endowments and the Ministry of Health to supervise and control nine processions of mourning as specified in the schedule of processions in the Northern Province, which start from the fourth day of Muharram to the fourteenth."
For their part, the heads of processions in the villages and areas of the province confirmed their readiness to implement the health protocol and abide by all the general requirements for organizing the Husseini processions.
On another related note, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered the disbursement of the annual royal donation for the obsequies and Husseiniyas for the 1443Hijri/2021.