Thursday, April 7, 2011

Iranian clerics slam silence on Bahrain

Iranian clerics on Wednesday condemned the silence of senior Muslim clerics on the crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bahrain.

According to Press TV, the Jame-e Modarresin-e Qom (the Qom Seminary Teachers Association) in a statement urged influential Muslim scholars to help prevent the "massacre of innocent people" since to remain silent goes against the Quran. It also called on intellectuals and the elite of the Muslim world to remain vigilant and "thwart plots of enemies of Islam."

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of seminary students held rallies across Iran on Wednesday to protest the Bahraini government's actions against protesters. They chanted slogans against the United States and Israel, and called for unity among Muslims.

In one of the rallies held in the Iranian city of Qom, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said arrogant powers are moving against Islam.

In the past few days, Bahraini workers were sacked in huge numbers for participating in a nationwide strike called in solidarity with the anti- government protesters. The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions roughly estimated that over 250 staff of leading companies were dismissed.

Bahraini authorities on late Saturday evening decided to ban the opposition newspaper Al-Wasat in what appeared to be a move to further crack down on anti-government protesters.

More than 25 people have been killed, hundreds arrested and thousands injured in the government-authorized violence in Bahrain. The country's social unrest began after protesters called for a "Day of Rage" on February 14 to mark the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter, which returned the country to constitutional rule after the 1990s uprisings. Initially, people took to the streets to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy, but later they began to call for the removal of the royal family.

In March, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait deployed their troops to Bahrain to reinforce a massive armed crackdown on the popular uprising.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa family, but two-thirds of the population are Shiite.

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