Middle East

Bahrain approaching the abyss: Sheikh Issa Qasim

essa_qasimA Top Bahraini cleric has warned that the country is nearing an abyss as anti-regime protests heat up in towns and villages around the capital.Ayatullah Sheikh Issa Qasim said on Friday that there are no signs of reform in the country and the regime’s policy of attacking demonstrations and religious processions is dragging the country toward destruction, not reconciliation.

“This country is being brought closer to an abyss of terrifying destruction unless quick reforms are offered to satisfy the people,” he stated.

He emphasized that as long as trials of civilians are held in military courts and as long as the crackdown on peaceful protesters continues, there is no chance of dialogue with the regime, Reuters reported.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has called for talks with the opposition beginning on July 1 and has said that discussions can be held on all types of democratic reforms in the country, government officials have said.

But Qasim told a crowd of hundreds during his Friday sermon that the current situation did not match the government rhetoric.

Opposition groups say that hundreds of peaceful demonstrators have been put on trial on charges ranging from holding illegal gatherings and fabricating news to plotting a coup with foreign terrorist organizations.

They say over 1,000 people remain in detention, but the government says the numbers are much lower.

Meanwhile, Bahrainis once again spilled out onto the streets in large numbers after Friday prayers across the tiny Persian Gulf state and called for an end to the rule of the Al Khalifa family.

In response, Saudi-backed regime forces stormed the village of Karbabad and detained several anti-regime protesters.

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