Shiites protest against discrimination in Bahrain

Monday, April 11, 2011

The flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Image: SKopp.
Image: Zscout370.

This week state run newspapers in Bahrain officially declared that the nation was ‘back on track’ after weeks of political and sectarian unrest in the nation. However these headlines have been disputed by Shiite protestors in Bahrain. Sunni security forces have been raiding Shiite protestors' homes, knocking their doors down, spraying graffiti on walls and arresting them in an effort to keep Shiite activists off the street.

Bahrain's government has been accused by the United States of human rights abuses including arbitrary detention and discrimination against Shiites in the country; Shiites make up between 60% and 70% of the population of Bahrain. One activist told The Associated Press that he was brutally beaten by security forces, threatened with rape, and told to return to Iran — a major Shiite power in the region.

"We cannot stop," said another Shiite protestor, Ali Mohammed, "we might go quite for a bit to mourn the dead and treat the injured and see those in jail, but then we will rise up again." He lost his teaching job because of his involvement in the protests.

It was also revealed by a US State department report that the Bahrain government had requested from various media outlets and journalists that they no longer report on sectarianism, national security or stories that degraded the Royal Saudi family. The report also claimed that "according to some members of the media, government officials contacted editors directly and asked them to stop writing about certain subjects or asked them not to publish a press release or a story."

Shiites have voiced their opinions about continuous discrimination in the country, with the Muslim opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman requesting that the Saudi military leave the region and stop intervening with protesters.

The official body count states that at least 20 people have been killed since the political protests began in early February 2011.