The revival of the Ashura by the Shi’a community in Bahrain is a devotional season, which has been observed for hundreds of years in Bahrain. It is part of the inherent religious rights and freedoms of everyone, which are guaranteed and recognised by international law. It is also an integral part of a Shi’a identity and beliefs.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has a population of no more than 1.5 million, the majority of which are foreign-born. Less than half of the population comprises of Bahraini nationals. Still, the majority of Bahrain’s population are from the Shi’a sect of Islam. Despite the existence of constitutional and legal provisions that recognise the rights of the Shi’a community to freely practise religious rites and the obligations for the state to protect their processions, the Government of Bahrain (GoB) does not abide by these legal and constitutional responsibilities.
Bahrain does not differ from other nations in its practice of religious rites. However, the country deviates from governments that respect and protect the rights of their citizens residents to practising their religious rites. Every year, the Kingdom of Bahrain commits systematic violations that restrict and disrespect the Hussainiya (religious centres) rites of Shii’a Bahrainis. In more extreme cases, the GoB prevents or limits rites, as shown in this report.
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