Saturday, July 23, 2011

'Stop destroying Bahrain's mosques'

Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:28AM GMT

Sheikh Issa Qasim
Bahrain's top cleric, Sheikh Issa Qasim, has condemned the desecration and demolition of mosques and holy sites by the Saudi-backed regime forces.

In a statement issued on Saturday after an open seminar in Sanabis, west of Manama, Sheikh Qasim demanded that houses of worship be accorded full respect and called on the Bahraini authorities to halt all sectarian discrimination in the Persian Gulf island nation, a Press TV correspondent reported.

He also urged the government to rebuild all the mosques and holy sites demolished by Saudi troops and Bahraini security forces during the clampdown on anti-regime protesters over the past few months.

Thousands of anti-government protesters have been holding demonstrations in Bahrain since mid-February, calling for an end to the absolute monarchy of the Al Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the country for over 40 years.

Bahraini regime forces have razed at least 52 mosques and more than 500 religious sites since the anti-regime protests began.

In mid-March, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed their military forces to Bahrain to help the Manama regime in its brutal crackdown on the popular protests.

On March 18, the Bahraini authorities leveled the monument on Manama's Pearl Square, which was the epicenter of the anti-government protests.

The iconic central structure was demolished two days after Bahraini and Saudi forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, cleared the landmark square where anti-government protesters had camped out for several weeks. A Pakistani crane operator was crushed to death after being ordered to destroy the monument.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested in the Saudi-backed crackdown on the peaceful uprising in Bahrain -- a subservient ally of the United States and home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.


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