Bahrain

Bahrain King to build a Coptic Church amid criticism about persecution of Shia majority and destroying their mosques

Pastor of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Kingdom of Bahrain confirmed that the Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has granted an estate to build a church for the Copts.

The property is located in the Bahraini capital Manama and it is to serve more than 1500 Egyptian Coptic families residing in Saudi Arabia.

Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa visited the Egyptian Coptic church in an official visit he paid to Cairo last week and met the Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox.

The church stated that in 2015 that King Hamad dedicated an estate in Bahrain for the purpose of building another Coptic church, in addition to the St. Mary and St. Joseph Coptic Orthodox Church.

During the same visit, King Hamad pledged to build 30 Azhari centers across Egypt.

The Bahraini authorities attempt to appear tolerant when it comes to religion-related matters, while on the other hand facing severe criticism for violating the religious rights of Shiite majority in the country.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted in its annual report that the Bahraini government continues to discriminate against Shia Muslims as Shiites suffer from “cultural, economic, educational, and social discrimination” as well as the “use of force and abuses targeting Shia clerics.”

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