Bahrain Authorities Continue Attacks on Religious Gatherings and Processions amidst a Systematic Campaign against Religious Liberties. This Systematic Campaign Included Demolishing Dozens of Mosques and Attacking Religious Facilities and Institutions of Shiaa Muslims in March 2011

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights Warns Against the Escalating Systematic attacks on Religious Liberties with the Approach of the Religious Season of 'Ashura' and Holds the Authorities Responsible for the Consequences

Photos: to the right injured and wounded after Security Forces attacked a Religious Ceremony – Samaheej Area

14 Nov 2012

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights sends out a critical warning in which it expresses its concern as a result of receiving documented information about the Authorities in Bahrain continuing the systematic attacks on religious liberties with the approach of the commemoration of the 'Ashura' rituals practiced by Shia Muslims. These religious processions tend to be received with hostile media and security alerts, as well as threats towards those who criticize the regime or who address the political situation through the podiums and forums of these religious processions .

The authorities have set up check points in many different areas, and BCHR received information from several people that people are being harassed when they attempt to move from one area to another.Security forces have already entered Karzakkan and tore down religious banners the locals had put up.



Youth putting up decorations for religious processions, with security forces approaching 

What increases concern is the ongoing systematic attacks in an attempt to restrict religious events and ceremonies, like in 2011 when several religious processions and gatherings were attacked and through targeting religious institutions, mosques and facilities by demolishing or vandalizing them. [1] On Friday 2nd November 2012, security forces attacked a religious Shiaa gathering using pellet shotguns and teargas in an excessive and unwarranted manner resulting in a number of injuries, some of whom were children; in addition to suffocations [2]. According to information received by the BCHR from eyewitnesses, security forces attacked the religious gathering with no prior warning, and without provocation.


Photo: People distributing sweets and drinks on this religious occasion – before the attack

(Video link – Teargas shot and confrontations after the attack on the religious gathering in Samaheej Area)

The BCHR documented several shotgun pellet injuries, in addition to a number of suffocations, among them children and elderly.

Photos: Some of those injured with shotgun pellets The security forces then commenced to chase after those participating in the religious gathering after they had started running due to the attack. The security forces continued to shoot excessive teargas which covered the different neighborhoods in the area.

Photos: The dense teargas fired in residential areas during the attack

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and other allies and international institutions to pressure the Bahraini authorities to:

1. Immediately end the systematic attacks on religious liberties

2. Immediately stop all forms of sectarian attacks and/or promotion of sectarian tensions/violence

3. Immediately investigate and hold accountable those who gave orders, overlooked and carried out attacks on religious liberties

4. Guarantee freedom of religion to all religions and sects in Bahrain

The BCHR respectfully reminds the Government of Bahrain of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" 

and Article 13: "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement" 


[1] Discrimination and deprivation of religious freedom in Bahrain