Hujjat al-Islam Maytham al-Salman, the director of Religious Freedom Unit of the Bahrain Human Rights Observatory, called on the country’s Al Khalifa regime to abandon efforts to create restrictions on freedom of expression and religion.
His Eminence stated that the Bahraini regime has been negligent in its duty to examine the violent statements being propagated from the pulpits and media sources in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
“Instead of directing his comments at limiting the propagation of Takfirism and extremism from the pulpits, the comments of Farid al-Muftah [the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs] are used as a means to constrain freedom of religion and freedom,” he said.
The Bahraini scholar emphasized that Bahrain’s constitution stipulates that no official or government department has the right to restrict freedom of expression, not even the undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs.
Shaykh al-Salman noted that banning religious scholars from making speeches is against the law, adding that religious scholars and many cultural, political and human rights activists in Bahrain have always stressed upon national unity, called for respect for human rights, the realization of equality and the elimination of all forms of racial and sectarian discrimination and stood against violence, extremism and terrorism in their speeches and statements.
He stressed on the necessity of launching an international investigation to “examine the sectarian discrimination suffered by Bahraini Shi’ites.”
“This should be overseen by a neutral and independent international committee,” he said.
Shiite scholars are reportedly under heavy pressure by the Bahraini ruling monarchy and are being prohibited from giving lectures in their own country. This is while many Wahhabi clerics in Bahrain have convenience and simplicity to promote their religion without government interference.