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Pope Francis demanded to cancel his visit to Bahrian

Human rights circles have called on Pope Francis to cancel his decision to visit Bahrain next month because of human rights violations and religious persecution.

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Bahrain to visit the Catholic community living there amid widespread human rights criticism of the move.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain said that Bahrain is a country where citizens are forcibly exiled for exercising their right to expression.

The organization stated that the Bahraini authorities use religious discrimination as a tool to maintain their power and practice whitewashing interfaith coexistence to obscure their human rights violations.

The organization called on Pope Francis to reconsider that visit because of what it may bear of deliberate religious discrimination against Shiite Muslims in Bahrain if the Pope draws attention to these violations.

According to the organization, the Bahrain government discriminates against Shiite citizens. For example, it grants Sunni citizens preferential treatment for scholarships and positions in the Ministry of Interior and the army.

This discrimination led to an imbalance in the workforce, the army, political bodies, and civil society. This was also mentioned in the US State Department report on religious freedom in Bahrain.

It noted that since the 2011 pro-democracy protests, the government had imposed a total ban on all demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, religious gatherings, and funeral processions.

It added that the citizens are targeted during one of the most important Shiite religious occasions, the Ashura commemoration, by removing banners and summoning Shiite leaders for interrogation regarding the sermons they delivered on that anniversary.

Political prisoners, especially Shiite prisoners, are subjected to harassment and mistreatment due to their beliefs, while the prevailing culture of impunity prevents any accountability.

Recently, 62-year-old prominent cleric Sheikh Abdul-Jalil al-Miqdad was attacked and ill-treated, one of the opposition leaders who was arrested and tortured after the democratic movement was established in 2011, after four years of deliberately denying him access to health care.

Sheikh al-Miqdad, who suffers from several diseases, got an appointment with the doctor, and the officer forced him to go to the clinic despite knowing that the doctor was not there.

But he refused to go because he would not receive any care. So instead, at least four officers attacked him and abused him, and wanted to force him to sign a refusal to accept care.

The State Department’s setting of a separate sentence at the outset of its report on religious freedom in Bahrain, which states that “because religion and political affiliation are often closely related, it has been difficult to classify many incidents as based solely on religious identity,” not By order returned.

There are 51 reported cases of religious repression, discrimination or harassment by the Bahraini government in 2021 that cannot be considered exclusively religious discrimination because the monarchy uses religious discrimination as political control.

Many of the victims of religious discrimination are democratic leaders who will challenge the tyranny of one-family rule.

The Bahraini constitution guarantees individuals the right to display their religion publicly or privately. However, Shiite worshipers were summoned, arrested, forced to sign pledges, and even detained and sentenced for practising their faith.

Therefore, the religious rights enshrined in the country’s laws are nothing but a pretext printed on paper as a means for the Bahraini ruling family to reach its interests resulting from international friendships with the world’s most powerful leaders, thus obscuring human rights violations.

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