Home / Current Affairs / Politics / Middle-East / Human right abuses in Bahrain | The jihad of Zainab Al-Khawaja

As the Middle East continues to be enveloped in political turmoil and media outlets bombard us constantly with new information, I for one had become desensitized to the gravity of the situation there. As sad as it sounds, after a while the stories about dreadful combat and war just become headlines you skim over. However, I was reminded of the harsh reality of the human struggle in Bahrain when I heard the heart breaking story of Zainab al-Khawaja.

Human right abuses in Bahrain | The jihad of Zainab Al-Khawaja

By Waleed Ahmed

As the Middle East continues to be enveloped in political turmoil and media outlets bombard us constantly with new information, I, for one, had become desensitized to the gravity of the situation there. As sad as it sounds, after a while the stories about dreadful combat and war just become headlines you skim over. However, I was reminded of the harsh reality of the human struggle in Bahrain when I heard the heart-breaking story of Zainab Al-Khawaja.

Zainab Al-Khawaja is the daughter of a prominent Bahraini human rights activist and former president of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. Her father has been instrumental in reporting human right abuses in Bahrain and has been an outspoken advocate of civil rights and democracy. He recently also spoke about putting the Bahraini king on trial for perpetrating widespread corruption and crimes.

About two months ago, security forces stormed Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja's house and arrested him, after savagely brutalizing him in front of his family. He was repeatedly beaten and was pounded to the point of unconsciousness; all this despite him offering to surrender voluntarily. When Zainab and her family tried to interfere, the women were thrust aside and her husband and brother-in-law were beaten up and arrested as well. This incident happened only after three weeks of Zainab's uncle being arrested in a similar fashion.

Not having heard a word about her family\'s whereabouts for three days since the incident, Zainab's desperation led her to take extreme measures. In order to protest this injustice and to bring the world\'s attention to her cause she decided to go on a hunger strike. She marked the beginning of her hunger strike with an open letter to the President of the United States posted on her blog AngryArabiya.

Western powers have been opportunistic as usual when it comes to opposing regimes on humanitarian grounds. Zainab in her letter addresses President Obama and pleads to withdraw his support of the monarchy in Bahrain. If he is vocal in speaking out and helping the humanitarian cause in Libya, then at the very least, he should quit supporting Bahraini dictator, she argues. Intervention from the West is based on interest, not principle it appears.

Zainab's cause gained reasonable attention, perhaps not as much as it deserved though. The story was blogged around and reported by many major news outlets including The NewYork Times, The Guradian, CNN, BBC and The Huffington Post; I heard her narrative on CBC Radio where she bravely described her painful story and shed light on human right violations perpetrated by the Bahraini dictatorship.

Suffering from extreme weakness, Zainab ended her hunger strike on its 10th day after persuasion from human right groups who wanted her to continue speaking and fighting for the cause. She was also finally informed that her father was being kept in a military prison and was allowed a short phone call. Her determination inspired hundreds of people in Bahrain, USA and Saudi Arabia amongst other countries who also went on a hunger strike in protest.

Over two months since the unjust arrest, on June 22, 2011 Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, along with fellow activists, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Zainab, too, was arrested briefly for disrupting the court by chanting Allahu Akbar after the verdict. Her father is being kept in solitary confinement in a military prison where he is tortured, physically and psychologically, for inciting hatred against the regime. During his trials, the judge ignored signs of abuse on his body and his cry for justice. As for her husband, with the exception of a phone call, Zainab and her 2-year old daughter have had no contact with him since the arrest; his location is still kept secret and no charges have been laid.

Zainab's compelling story is one that is shared by hundreds of families who have loved ones under arrest for exercising free speech and protesting the atrocities of the Al-Khalifa regime. Her struggle, her jihad, serves as a role model for those wanting to fight injustice and protest Western foreign policy. Her non-violent methodology has proved to be far more successful and demonstrates that civil disobedience, though not as dramatic, can still be quite effective and inspirational.

Listen to Zainab's Interview On CBC Radio

 

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65 comments

  1. Very sad story… May Allah(sbt) give hidaya to Arab leaders.. My Allah(sbt) protect us from those Jalims..

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  2. Assalamu Alaikom,

    Torture is obviously wrong, but the Shia trying to take over is worse. The Bahraini protests are different from the rest, they aren’t legitimate at all. Prior to the protests, everything was fine. Unfortunately blood was spilled after they started, but it would have remained fine if not for this fake jihad. Not a single scholar from ahlus sunnah supports the protests in Bahrain (of course they don’t support human abuse as well). Nobody is saying the regime in Bahrain is flawless, but I’d rather be ruled by a sunni monarch than the shia who think our blood is halal, that our wealth and honor are halal, zina is halal, the quran is tampered with, that only 7 or so sahabah are believers and the rest are disbelievers, that Aishah commited adultery, who curse us secretly, who think lying is OK, who think the real quran is with the mahdi who is hiding like a coward, who think their imams are supernatural beings, and whose allegiance is to Iran only. They already took over Iraq, almost gonna take over Lebanon,and now they are craving some more power. BEWARE of their agenda, their whole deen is based on hatred, lies and deception.

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    • I agree with your opinion more or less, but oppressing Shias is haram itself. The government should have done more to take care of them,

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    • A just ruler is a just ruler regardless if the ruler is shia or sunni. Other than that, yes I do think this conflict is sectarian. Someone please enlighten us on what oppression the shia suffered in Bahrain which the sunni did not before the protests.

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      • Wake up, Walaykum asalam.

        Your comment is no different than the fear mongering of Islamaphobes who that say that the Muslims are out to take over the West, abolish democracy and enforce the Shariah. We don’t like others making bigoted comments about us; yet we do the same…how does this make us any better? If human right activist in Bahrain indeed have a hidden agenda as you claim; then Allah will be their judge on the Day of Judgment. I am not passing that judgment half way across the world based on hearsay.

        Please see my comment below to futher clarify my stance.

        Waleed

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        • But you’ve already made the decision to think otherwise through hearsay.

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          • First hand accounts of reputable human rights agencies, journalists and of people with loved ones tortured and locked up in prisons unjustly don’t amount to hearsay in my worldview.

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          • Then maybe you should speak to or hear reports of Sunni da’ees from Iraq and Iran, or from abroad who have gone there to figure it out. Or perhaps read what Shia’a scholars and politicians say about Sunnis in their books, both contemporary and classical.

            Carefully research an issue before writing a piece and publishing it. If an issue has a religious connotation to it, research that first. Otherwise you risk putting an issue out of context in the public sphere.

            Good writing piece otherwise.

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  3. May Allah(swt) help all the oppressed across the world and defeat the tyrants and illegitimate rulers. Ameen.

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  4. Zainab Alkhawaja is not in jihad state because she was trained by USA NDI office how to act and paid by Iran to trash her country reputation, so she is not worth bothering with and don’t deserve any space on any paper, she can go to Iran to settle down if she doesn’t want to go back to her country. There is no oppression in Bahrain and all the citizen know that except those loyal to Iran.

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  5. Muslimmatters… are you serious?

    I don’t like saying this like this but you guys are becoming more American than Muslim. Make sure your articles are published by people who actually familiar with the situation on the ground and are knowledgeable in the Shariah (to the extent of how much it is involved) rather than just posting pure opinion from the middle of nowhere. You have a responsibility to the large portion of the ummah that forms your readership and you have to be more attentive than this. Not only does that make for more accurate information, but it also contributes to the level of quality on this website.

    The Bahrain issue is a much more complicated issue than ‘human rights’ and ‘bad rulers’ and the odd abuse case here and there. Your quality from both an intellectual, academic and Islamic perspective has seriously declined apart from the saddeningly few articles from advanced students of knowledge.

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    • Ibn Masood… are you serious?

      One would think that anyone leveling these kinds of accusations would care enough to actually provide a counter-argument and proofs and citations for why this article is, in your eyes, a complete fail. Instead, it’s just a rant, with nothing provided to back up your point of view. If you can’t be bothered to specifically address the specific points made in the article that you take issue with, then your comment is an even bigger fail than you accuse the article of being.

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      • Sebkha, my comment was directed at the editors, and I am familiar with some of them so I was hoping they would understand this issue well enough for me not to provide an explanation.

        As to why I didn’t provide one, I’ve lived in the Middle East before and have actually been working and studying there for the past year. And one thing I can say is the we Muslims in the West oversimplify the problems over there and box them into our own cultural perspectives, similar to how the Muslims over there do to our problems. Posting misinformed pieces on the internet such as this one can have serious consequences in an area that is undergoing such chaotic change as the Middle East.

        For me provide a step by step counter argument to this article would take an hour of out of my time… which I don’t have. The situation in Bahrain has a much more complicated tangent to it, and that is the problem of Shias-Sunnis. There are some complicated and very serious religious and political issues between Sunnis and Shias right now in the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia. What is occurring right now in Iraq, Bahrain and East Saudi Arabia are symptoms of this problem. If you meet du’aat or scholars who have been involved in da’wah with the Shias for a good amount of time, or have been to Iran for trips to relieve tensions etc, they will all tell you the same thing, which is that Iran and the Shia world in general is hell-bent on wiping Saudi Arabia off the map.

        I have also done a small share of da’wah with Shias, and have had personal experience with some of their students of knowledge, and in the context of that, this article is poorly informed of both the political and the religious aspects of this issue.

        Cases of abuse such as this yes we all agree are bad, but they need to be put in to the context of the entire discussion.

        In general though, Muslims should do more research into their deen, human rights in Islam and the maqasid ash-Shariah before writing such pieces.

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        • Exactly as I suspected. Your criticisms stemmed from a motivation of pride, smugness and arrogance, as opposed to sharing and spreading knowledge and enlightenment to the readers on this site. If yourself and the editors here are all buddy-buddy, why didn’t you just write a personal email then regarding your concerns, as opposed to dressing down a fellow Muslim publicly? Whether you agree with the author’s conclusions or not, at least he made a point and backed it up with supporting statements. You provide nothing of the sort, publicly castigate the man here, and then think you can just flounce off and say you can’t be bothered to back up any of your criticisms with any kind of evidence. Ugh. That just comes across as being a whole lot ickier than anything you accuse the author of here. Even if the author’s original assertions are incorrect, at least they appear to be coming from an honest, sincere place in him. The same cannot be said about your comments unfortunately.

          The little rant about Iran and Shias was pretty entertaining though. Though I’m sure you don’t consider anybody wondering what on earth that has to do specifically with Zainab Al-Khawaja, worthy of an explanation. Or why she still has no idea where her husband is.

          Still laughing at the ridiculous attempt too to discredit my criticism of your comments with random guesses about my citizenship. Nice try. What passport I possess has nothing to do with anything here. I speak, comprehend and read Arabic fluently, and read and watch a variety of Arabic media on a regular basis. But even if I didn’t that hardly disqualifies myself or anyone else from feeling utterly sick over the ordeal Zainab Al-Khawaja has been through, much less her husband and father, regardless of any national or sectarian issues in her country.

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      • And I’m guessing you’re American.

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    • I rather have a just state that operates on laws and principles regardless of who runs it instead of tinpot monarchies that might be Muslim by name but their rule is oppressive.

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      • The thing is F, that a shia-run state will NOT operate on proper principles. Research the area of “ahwaaz” in Iran to see the treatment sunni muslims get. It’s الأحواز in arabic. Also read about the way sunnis are treated in Iraq.

        Both oppressive monarchies and shia states are not fit to rule, but the thing is Bahrain is not an oppressive monarchy AT ALL. Yes, it might have committed some human rights violations recently, but before that everything was fine. Everyone had their rights. I personally know a Bahraini brother who told that they were like brothers, but now things are different.

        If a monarchy has its faults, we should try to reform it in a way that doesn’t lead to bloodshed. Don’t turn the country into a war-zone because of your temper tantrums, especially in an already safe country like Bahrain. NO WAY you can compare it to the oppression in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

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  6. Belgian muslim

    Salaam alaikoum

    It is really sad to see muslims full of support with the revolutions that are going on in the arab world but then when it comes down to countries like Bahrain, where the people who are being oppressed, are shi’ies, suddenly everything changes. And suddenly there is a hidden agenda going on.

    Well guess what, in every country that has had this revolution, the leaders tried to fool us with the usual “these are foreign agents at work” and nonsense like that.
    No it is time for us muslims to be critical about ourselves. Yes we have some very oppressive regimes and the fact that they are oppressive against muslims who differ with us on important issues does NOT make it all right.
    Shi3a or sunni or even non-muslims should receive their rights and should not in any way be opressed.
    As long as we don’t take a resolute stand on this, we can never be taken serious.

    PS: I’m not even going to spend my words on those muslims that keep on ranting about “servitude to the current rulers and we should not object” and basically just accept humiliation as a test. Enough scolars who have rejected that nonsense.

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    • There is no excuse for Shiite sectarianism…if these guys gain control, they will legalize Mutah which the Prophet(PBUH) himself banned after having previously allowed it. However there is not the slightest excuse in heaven or on earth to oppress ANYBODY, whatsoever even the slightest bit. What will Muslims be doing if we are a bad example by oppressing Shiites? Not only does it arm them and motivate them in the vain and useless attempts, we wrong ourselves in the sight of our Lord when we accept oppression, regardless of whether people are Muslim, Shia Muslims, etc. Never is oppression allowed. Likewise, think of the corruption the Shia will spread if they start these unIslamic things? There should be a compromise. Both live in peace but Shia don’t get to spread their immorality.

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  7. Thanks a lot for this article! this remind us how brutal Arab dictator and their followers could be to conserve their power.
    As for Shia/Sunni controversy I’d like to point out that the Bahraini are first and foremost human being asking for the right to live in dignity. And it hurts to see the cruelty of those so-called Sunni leaders who are in reality turning their back to every aspect of the sunna and our prophet teaching.
    This story is terrible but you could actually hear similar ones in Morocco, Algeria, Lybia. Syria, Saudia, Jordan, Yemen, Soudan, Irak… They’ve been ruling since more than half a century what good did they bring to our Oumma? We are last in every aspect of human development, how long do we have to accept mediocrity? Not even the defence of our religion is one of their interest!
    I’m sunni and I consider Shia as my brother in Islam. I totally support their struggle for human right in Bahrein or in Iran as I’m sure they would support my struggle Wether it is in Palestine, Morocco or US.

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    • As long as shias doesn’t speak unspeakable things about Hadrat Aishah, I too consider them my brothers/sisters. This is because Hadrat Aishah is one of our mothers.

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  8. Ibn Masood,

    Asalaomoalykum,

    The intent of my article was to shed light on Zainab’s heartbreaking story and to highlight the humanitarian situation in Bahrain. I wanted to showcase this young mother’s incredible struggle as she tried to cope with her husband and father locked away and tortured for weeks on. I wanted to bring attention to the extreme measures she took( the hunger strike) in order to bring the world’s attention to her cause. I orignally published this on my blog under the title ‘A hunger strike for human rights – The jihad of Zainab al Khawaja’ two months ago. I requested MM to change to title in order to also highlight the situation in Bahrain.

    As the word ‘jihad’ continues to be used as a pejorative term, I used it with the intention of perhaps changing that trend and bringing to attention its greater meaning. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘The greatest jihad is speaking truth to an unjust power’. That is what Zainab and her family are doing and that is her jihad. By no means was I saying that the ‘Arab Springs’ are a Jihad. I don’t think anyone here is qualified to make such a statment. And before you go on passing judgment on the actions of those that oppose leadership, I refer to Imam Zaid’s article titled “Reflections on The Islamic Legitimacy of the Muslim Uprisings” on his blog. Perhaps it will allow people to see the complexity of the jurisprudence related to this issue.

    I am quite embarrassed to see fellow Muslims even bring up the Sunni/Shia issue and delve into conspiracy theories while ignoring the apparent. Have we forgotten that our Prophet commanded us to have a good opinion of people? I could have cared less what sect Zainab belongs to and there was no reason for me to investigate her aqeedah. Heck, I would have written this article even if she wasn’t Muslim; I would have hoped MM would still publish it. When it comes to oppression, its a Muslim Matter..regardless of the faith of the oppressed. The Quran commands us to do justice even if its againts our own people; we aught to live up to that command. Its about time Muslims stop acting out of self-interest and stand up for that which is just.

    Waleed Ahmed

    p.s. Sebkha, Jazkallah for defending me :)

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    • I wasn’t concerned with your mentioning of the word Jihad, rather the context in which you have presented this entire story. No one will disagree with you that the issue of abuse such as the case you presented here is indeed a grave and serious matter and indeed condemned by the Shariah. For sure the Bahraini government needs to be made aware of and corrected for its abuses. However there is a proper method and methodology and caution must be taken especially in times of chaos in the region such as now.

      Additionally, as with any incident around the world, it needs to be presented in the greater context it belongs in to ensure that we see the problem relative to the greater problem in the region, which is the Sunni-Shia issue. It’s the same thing we accuse modern news networks of doing when they speak about Islamic issues. You can speak about abuses by the Bahraini government if you must but you have to put it into the greater context of things. Why? Because you’re looking at it from your own personal viewpoint. If you go to the Middle East… Sunnis and Shias don’t live side by side like they do in Canada. It is not a conspiracy theory, any political analyst can show you the arms buildup and rush towards nuclear capability that has been going on in the region every since the Second Gulf War and the last Lebanon War, especially between KSA and Iran. There is great animosity between Sunnis and Shias in the Middle East and Muslims in the West really aren’t going to understand that unless they see it for themselves. Many of us Westerners think we can freelance comment on what happens in the Middle East, as if being Muslim gives us the ability to immediately understand the political situation over there and gives us license to comment on it.

      As for belittling the difference between Shias and Sunnis, as Muslims our worldview is not contained by Western principles of equality and justice. It is contained by the Qur’an and Sunnah and the principles of Eman and Kufr within it. We only support many Western principles because in essence (not necessarily in practice), because they are based on principles from the Qur’an and and Sunnah. The one who says the Abu Bakr and Umar are Kuffar, that Aaishah committed Zina, and that Ali (radiaAllahu anh) holds an equal or higher status than the Prophet is not the same as the one who does not. In Western principles yes, but in Islamic principles there is a vast difference between them, and because of that we change how we look at the issue. The Companions’ implementation of the Sunnah in the times they lived in where many sects arose should be classic reference point to the stance of the Sunnah on such issues.

      Lastly, the Bahrain uprisings are nowhere near the same as the Egyptian or Tunisian ones. They involve a sectarian issue and not just a socio-political conflict. As for the legitimacy of opposing rulers, Imam Zaid is only one individual and not really a high ranking faqih. Senior fuqahaa’ around the region have differences of opinion about this issue and I don’t think we do justice to it on our level.

      As I said to you elsewhere, We need to talk. You can ask old MMPJ members from my day about the mistakes I made on Sunni-Shia issues and what they led to. I worked with Shia students of knowledge and once let this mentality about ‘Oh we’re all Muslims why can’t we get along’ fool me too. Islamic issues don’t just require political knowledge to comment on, they also require an academic understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah and extensive da’wah experience. I am surprised that considering which university you study in, you have not yet benefited from the Islamic education that is given and/or advertised there.

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  9. If the Sunnis being butchered in Syria by the Alawi Shi’a deserve their freedom, dignity and rights then so do the Bahraini Shi’a being oppressed by the Saudis and Bahraini government. I’m deeply disturbed by a trend of thought that places emphasis on and judges actions by who is committing them rather than consistent ethics and morality. It smacks of a clear double standard and makes us Muslims look like hypocrites.

    As Sunni Muslims, we do not have to believe in, respect or admire the Shi’ite interpretation or practice of Islam. But we have no right whatsoever to abuse them, bully them, oppress them or even murder them. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are right now jailing DOCTORS who tried to save the lives of protestors. What were they supposed to do? Let them die? Is this how hypocritical and ideological we have become, that we will defend states doing this because it’s US doing it to THEM? It’s completely reprehensible.

    This is no different from Israelis and Westerners who justify the grotesque abuses and oppressions of their governments because they bow down to the alter of identity politics and self interests rather than a comprehensive and consistent morality and ethical paradigm. How do we criticize them when we do the same, huh?

    The Quran very clearly states “Do not let a hatred of a people compel you into doing injustice”. That’s it. Khalaas. Even if one is in the positon of HATING Shi’a, you have NO RIGHT to abuse them, let alone kill them. This is a totally disgusting mentality and no wonder with this type of enlightened thinking that Muslims are so easily played and abused through divide and rule tactics.

    The accusations towards Iran being involved in Bahrain are nothing but Saudi and Bahraini propoganda. Not one shred of evidence has been brought to light confirming it, and if it was the US would be the first to beat the drum given their antagonism towards the Iranian regime.

    Iran is in no way an innocent actor in the Middle East, but there is nothing so far to show they are complicit in Bahrain. The country is 70% Shi’a and they want their rights like all other Middle Eastern people are demanding at the moment.

    Further, it is total hypocrisy to blame only Iran for playing games and indulging in sectarianism.
    Iran is a horrid silver medal to Saudi Arabia’s Gold. So if we rightly condemn Iran for this where proven and applicable, then Saudi Arabia must also be condemned for the same.

    I saw a sign by a brave and ingenious Egyptian in Tahrir square reading ” Oh Mubarak, Saudi Arabia is waiting for you”. There’s a man who knows what’s up. He knows who the #1 collaborator, sabotuer and sectarianist regime in the Middle East is. The same regime now cooperating with the US to produce a counter-revolution in Egypt and Tunisia.

    From bankrolling Saddam to establishing sectarian terrorist groups in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia is the Muslim world champion of subverting and sabotaging other Muslim nations for it’s own interests. If the US had invaded Bahrain, people’d be callin’ for a Jihad…but a-ok if Saudi Arabia does it. Gimmie a break with this convoluted immoral hypocrisy.

    I totally commend Muslim Matters for taking a stand based on principle and not acting as the propoganda arm of the Saudi or Bahraini embassies. It’s high time Muslims started acting based on the pure principles of Quran and Sunnah, and not based on our sectarian and nationalist interests…the same things we accuse the West or Israel of doing. Score 1 for Muslim Matters against hypocrisy I say!

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  10. Pro protestor points:

    1) It simply is not true that they were all Iranian agents. Some of them were stupid enough to carry Iranian banners. However just like Syrian protestors arent Israeli agents, similarly the Bahrainis werent Iranian agents
    2) Doctors and nurses who helped injured protestors were beaten up badly, and now we see that doctors who treated injured protestors are being prosecuted
    3) This may be nationalistic but is a point nevertheless; Bahrain recruited many uneducated Pakistanis to work as mercenary police. So it didnt help when Bahraini Shias who were there for 3 generations saw they would never be recruited for the police but Pakistanis who were uneducated, and didn’t know Arabic were being brought it and would be given citizenship for helping beat up or shoot protestors. In one case an unarmed 60 year old protestor who went to talk with the police had his head blown off by a Pakistani police who didn’t know Arabic. Also, Pakistanis and Jordanians often worked as undercover spies for the regime.
    4) Men, women and children were attacked by security forces with live ammunition in the crackdown on the protests
    5) The King and Crown Prince are somewhat benevolent, compared to people like Assad. The ones that aren’t include the PM and the Saudis.
    6) It is very telling that apart from the Saudis, the group most in favor of the status quo are the expat Brits. They don’t care for the protestors , all they want is that the brunches are back where they can drink themselves silly. The local papers were supposedly filled in with complaints from expat Brits who blamed the protestors for destroying their lifestyle
    7) Read up who Ian Henderson was. Bahrain due to its small size, has a history of foreign torture specialists brought up to torture native Bahrainis who didn’t agree with the status quo.
    8) As for the guy who said Shias shouldn’t be allowed power as they will legalize Mutah, well they aren’t in power, and alcohol is legal, and alcohol is supposedly illegal in Islam? The biggest consumers of alcohol in Bahrain are probably Saudis who come for a day to go wild

    Anti protestor points
    1) Some of the protestors did get violent and killed innocent foreign workers simply because they were Pakistani. If you have a beef with Pakistani mercenaries, go after them, but not after innocent foreign workers as they are as I said, innocent
    2) In all honesty, the Crown Prince is a reasonable man, and the protestors should have taken up his offer of dialogue rather than continue with protests. Even if the Bahraini govt is willing to compromise, the Saudis wouldn’t allow it. I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say that Saudi would rather all of Bahrain sinks under the sea, than it treat Sunnis and Shias equally.
    3) If you compare with Syrians, Bahraini Shias did not have it that bad. But if you compare with other Bahrainis they did have it not that good either. It didn’t help to see mercenaries being fast tracked citizenship with all rights.
    4) Some doctors were supposedly political in that they refused to treat injured Sunnis, I dont have proof but i wouldnt be surprised

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  11. I live in the Eastern region of KSA. Just this morning, after I read tis article,, I was speaking with my supervisor. He just happens to be a Saudi who is Shia. He is very nice and I enjoy working with him. However, for some reason he brought politics with me, ironically. He started talking about how Iran used to lead the Islamic world. I got the feeling he is more loyal to Iran than his own country. I find it hard to believe that people like him would stand to protect this country from an invasion by Iran, most likely they would fight with Iran.

    In Bahrain, they too have a sizeable Shia population. These people are also very loyal to Iran. The protests that happened in Qatif, KSA and Bahrain were only political loyalists to Iran. Much like the Shia in Qatif, the Bahraini’s are not being oppressed. Bahrain has a per capita of approx. $44,000 while an average Canadian has about $34,000. The average person in Bahrain leds a much wealthier life than a typical Canadian.

    In addition, this lady’s father was a ranking member of a Shia dominated organization that tried to overthrow the government in 1981. The government has every right to detain her father. I feel no remorse for her father nor for her. This whole issue boils down to Shia/Sunni sectarian divide. Nothing more nor less.

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    • Jazakallah khayr,

      The majority of Shia in the Arab world today came about through foreign Persian influence during the Abassid dynasty (when the authority shifted away from its Arab roots). They are more loyal in many cases to Iran than to the Muslim ummah or even their own nations.

      In Bahrain, They are fighting for equal rights, but what does that entail? Freedom of speech (read: freedom to slander the sahaba and spread their poison), equal opportunities in the government (to promote their shi’a agenda and take over the nation), etc. In the Eastern region of Saudi Arabia, many of them try to befriend Sunnis and corrupt them with lies about the Sahaba (radhiAllah ‘anhum), often confusing and tricking the naive youth.

      None of this excuses the government of Bahrain or its actions, as oppression in any form is prohibited, but we should not promote those being oppressed in absolute terms simply for being oppressed, it is not a jihad on their part, just as many of the secular protesters arrested and killed in Egypt or elsewhere were not in jihad. A shi’ee is still a shi’ee heretic regardless, while we should protect their rights and help fight oppression, it should not blind us to their plots and major differences from the people of sunnah and jama’ah whether in aqeedah or usool.

      You wouldn’t call Ghandi or Nelson Mandela a mujahid now would you? So then how are these Shi’a who promote “democracy” considered as such in your mind while they deny the revelation of the sunnah at the very least?

      Finally, yes a sinful Sunni Muslim is much more beloved to ahlus-sunnah than a pious heretic, because his piety is based upon falsehood and deviation from the truth!

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  12. where is ahmed farsi and Amad. This against what MM said before.

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  13. In Tehran, Iran, they are not allowed to build even one Sunni Masjid even though there are over 40 churches! In Iran, you can’t name children Abu Bark, Umar, Aishah, Hafsah and other names. There is no Sunni in any level of government even though 20% of Iran is Sunni. They can’t even have any Eid prayers in many Sunni majority cities. The Shias of Bahrain should move to Iran and then we’ll see how they are treated there. The Shias of Bahrain have it real good as compared to the Sunnis in Iran. Remember, The Fall of Baghdad has happened twice in history. Both times, the Shias played a major role in it. In 1258, it was the Shia minister Ibn Alqami, and recently, it was the Shias at it again led by Chalabi.

    Read the role of Alqami and Chalabi right here: http://antiwar.com/orig/butler.php?articleid=2533

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  14. Assalamua alaikum,

    I am shocked that those claiming to follow the Quran and Sunnah would say such nonsense as “torture is wrong but shia trying to take over is worse.” Or “building a sunni mosque in Tehran is prohibited.”

    That is the reason Muslims are such a disgrace to Islam. First of all, it is their country–I am not a Shia but I will not be a liar and opressor on the day of judgement if I can help it. Second, there is no compulsion in religion. Third, you do not know each of them personally and have not examined their faith individually so cannot judge them as outside of Islam without risking Kufr yourself. Humility, not arrogance, is the cornerstone of a good Muslim. Even if you are comfortable doing so in your judgement, you should not act like those who oppress–we are competing in good deeds, not bad.

    Last of all, the government of Bahrain is at least as unIslamic and oppressive as the other Arab countries. As Muslims we do not support oppression if it is against someone we disagree with. The Quran is clear that we do not let the bad actions of others anger us so we commit injustice. Do not be so ignorant that the actions of one group of Shia is in total blamed upon them all. Isn’t that what we ask others not to do to us? That would make us guilty of injustice and hypocrasy, and if we support oppressors we may end up standing with them with dark faces full of shame on the day of judgement.

    Last of all be wary if you fear Allah; the Quran is clear that all who divide this Islam into sects will face His wrath–manipulations of hadith to claim we are the only ones who won’t may make you feel superior now, but what good will it do in the end?

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    • Sara, please note that indeed there are no sunni mosques in Tehran. That’s a fact. Also note that there is an active shrine to the killer of Umar RD in Iran. That’s another fact.

      I agree sometimes we mix opinions with facts due to emotions. But I think we shouldn’t ignore facts when they are available.

      P.S. If you can give me any evidence that the facts stated above are misstated, I’ll be more than happy to stand corrected.

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  15. I live in Bahrain. And for the first time I can proudly say that I’m not blind to what the “Media” propagates. Because we lived through it. My parents live close to where the roundabout is, where the rioters met. And they saw it with their own eyes. We saw the reality of what happened. But turn on the international news channels and you’d hear something else. Why? OBVIOUSLY, if these news agencies were to tell everyone that there is nothing wrong they won’t sell. Wake up. We live in an era of consumerism.

    So unless you live here, it is very unlikely you have any correct idea of what is going on.

    These protesters were wielding swords! What peaceful protesters do that? It was certainly not in self defence, because the government did not say a thing when the whole protests started. They let it take place. And then the protesters deciding to hijack the Main hospital in Bahrain, and that really was the limit; they wrecked equipment, machines, they prevented foreign workers (read Indian, Pakistani and Bengalis) from getting treatment, and much more! THEY CUT OFF A PAKISTANI MU’ADHIN’S TONGUE! Because he says the “wrong adhan”. Really?

    And how dare they talk about Human rights abuses? What do they know about Human rights?! Because we all know the foreign labourers are not deserving of any rights whatsoever. And they deserve to be mistreated and abused. But if it’s a Bahraini or a “peaceful” protester in question, then there is a genuine need for a global outcry.

    People in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria Live on the streets, they live in poverty! In Bahrain, Bahrainis (mostly “poor bahrainis” since the rich buy their own) are given FREE HOUSES. FREE MEDICAL CARE. AND FREE EDUCATION (schooling, bachelors, masters AND PhD) what are we lacking. Religious freedom? If you really want to see a clear picture then I advise you to go to Manama, the city centre, more specifically Souq manama, all year round it is decorated with idols and effigies like portraits of “Ahl al Beit” ‘Iyadhubillah. All year round it is decorated with green and black cloths. And this is only ONE city in Bahrain, there are many others! During Matam season these people are sent tons of free food! FROM THE GOVERNMENT! Most Matams are supplied by food.

    Then you complain? By Allah, if they were to spend a day in the slums of Kenya or else where they’ll come crawling back.

    Madam Al Khawajah certainly does not speak for me and I’m as Bahraini as they get. Thank you very much. And I certainly don’t believe that peace can be achieved by wrecking havoc (we have enough proof for that). If you want to make a change, get of your bum and do something of substance.

    She speaks of her dad? What about mine, who was imprisoned at home during the days of unrest and couldn’t leave to even perform Salat in congregation?! He has never under any circumstance missed prayer intentionally (in congregation) and for two weeks he couldn’t leave due to the havoc that they had spread. We couldn’t buy food, for this entire period everyone’s lives came to a standstill, everyone but the protestors.

    And I’m sure none the brothers and sisters commenting above really witnessed the gathered protestors at previously pearl roundabout? It was like a carnival, there was a popcorn stand, a tea stand and endless supply of food. My parents got invitations every night (until the government put a stop) saying come to the roundabout tonight, there’s a free buffet. Oh the Misery that we live in.

    Lastly, our religion is of Tawheed is very very precious, at least to me it is. And the gulf states are the few countries in the world who allow complete freedom of practicing Islam and have prevented wide spread Bida’, like many other countries. Islam here is PURE. What person who calls himself a Muslim would want to loose that. Even if I didn’t live in Bahrain (I have actually spent the past three years in Malaysia, studying – self sponsored), I would be happy to know that there exists a country or countries that have preserved this message at a large scale.
    What Muslim would want to loose that?! For the prosperity of a political agenda.

    Allah azza wa jal has blessed people with eloquence and this is one danger that Islam has faced, so called scholars have beautified innovations and misguidances. Even if a person can touch your heart, that doesn’t mean they speak the truth.

    Pray for sincerity in the actions of Muslims. Pray for sincerity of religion in these people. And pray pray that the true message of Islam of La illaha illa Allah always prospers.

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    • I have a friend whose family is in Bahrain, and visited recently, and he said that shias who control hospitals refused to treat sunni patients.

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      • Yes it’s true, my dad had to take my aunt for her rheumatism check up and they had to return home. :(
        And he said they were using Indian labourers are Human shield when the soldiers came into the hospital.

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  16. بارك الله فيك يا أختي أسأل الله العظيم أن يحفظك

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  17. It seems like a lot of Muslims in the West receive their information of the Muslim world and about Bahrain in particular from Western, ideologically biased media sources. These media sources have ideological, political, even economic prejudices and agendas.

    And while we cannot change these media companies, Muslims can certainly FREE THEMSELVES from the slant and bias which these companies have erected and institutionalized.

    FREE Muslim minds and thoughts and views by NOT relying on prejudiced media sources.

    Did you receive most of your information about Bahrain from CNN, BBC, Guardian, Al Jazeera English?
    They all had the same ideological slant in reporting regarding Bahrain.

    Did you receive most of your information about Bahrain from Press TV?
    It certainly had the greatest prejudice in reporting in english regarding Bahrain.

    Did you search out the viewpoints of Bahrainis and reliable Muslim sources regarding events in Bahrain?
    Because they offered a different and reliable insight into events in Bahrain which the western media did NOT.

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    • So everyone is against Bahrain including Al Jazeera which is owned and operated by a Sunni government in Qatar?

      Can you point us to some of these ‘reliable Muslim sources?’

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  18. I add that A Bahrainia’s post corresponds with much of what I read from Bahrainis and expats regarding Bahrain.

    May Allah preserve the believers and protect them and grant them success in this life and the next.

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  19. There are indeed human rights abuses in Bahrain. It’s not an either/or situation. Criticizing the government shouldn’t mean we blindly support the opposition nor vice versa. What I object to is not the criticism of the Bahraini government but the glorification of al-Khawaja.

    As for sources on the opposition, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, these can be read in the Wikileaks documents.
    Here’s one example from (http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/10/09MANAMA609.html):
    “Nonetheless, the leaders of Haq and Wafa’ (along with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights), were encouraging children to participate in sectarian and xenophobic violence that climaxed in the lynching of a Pakistani in March.”

    Zainab al-Khawaja has praised Khomeini (who was rather keen on human rights, as we all know) on her blog (http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=14334408&postID=112192673373299844).

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  20. Just to clarify, the quote wasn’t referring to March of this year, but 2009.

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  21. I would encourage all readers who have insight on the situation in Bahrain to send us their views in a form of a post- please label them time sensitive News & Views. Also would ask you to share news articles from the region analyzing the situation (esp local media).

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  22. Its been interesting to hear views of people on the ground. Thank you.

    One common comment being made is that protest in the Bahrain are very different from the ones in the rest of the region and thus no comparison should be made. I’d like to point out that this article was never intended to endorse or glorify the actions of the protesters in Bahrain as a whole nor was I lumping their cause with the rest of the middleast. I can see why people would arrive at this conclusion considering the timing of this article; but in no way did I intend to pass judgment on the legitimacy of the uprising in Bahrain…I passed judgment only on Zainab’s case.

    I only talked about her story and her struggle with the government. I made the assumption that the sources I used were authoritative and that her father,brother and husband were in fact unjustly imprisoned. If someone has proof against that then I’d like to hear.

    Waleed

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    • Rationlist Muslim

      If an adulterer is stoned to death, after a reliable qadhi gives a judgment, would you also “share” her story with the world about how she gave life for the innocent pleasures she sought outside the marriage? Get back to your senses. Maryam Al Khwaja and her daddy committed a crime, they’re being punished! No need to make eulogies of a criminal.

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      • Sadly your logic is so distorted I dont know where to start in responding to it. When people are adamant that only one party is correct, a murder commited by his side becomes as bad as a slap, and a slap by the other side becomes the most heinous crime on earth.
        Can we say that all the Syrian protestors killed deserved it because they were spreading chaos and were acting like Khawarij? Same for all the Libyans killed by Gaddafi ? This is the logic that Baathists and Gaddafi fans will use.
        Of course i wont say that because i am balanced, but why are people here so biased towards one side only ?

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        • A ‘human rights abuse’ is a lesser crime than blatant Kufr. We acknowledge that harm has been done, but it is done in the context of the much greater harm that is being attempted to spread across the Middle East by the Shia’a i.e. their creed of slandering and making takfir of the Companions of RasulAllah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

          We are all using logic here that has its origins in either emotion or secular perspective. This issue needs to be viewed in the Shariah perspective to be understood properly by balancing the harms out.

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          • Just to clarify: Such an abuse should not have occured yes, but the greater picture is that the other harm that is occuring is of greater importance and should not be occurring in the first place.

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          • That’s exactly what the Islamophobes say when putting Muslims behind bars. Funny how quickly we forget.

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          • Emotional argument again. Learn your deen please.

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          • Not all of us are taught to hate shias. Sorry to disappoint.

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          • “A ‘human rights abuse’ is a lesser crime than blatant Kufr.”

            What are you talking about? That’s not the case at all. Kufr or no kufr is between you and Allah(swt). To abuse people is never tolerated, whether the person is a muslim or not. Did the muslims torture the jews and the christians when they ruled over them because of their kufr? I hope you already know the answer to that.

            This has btw absolutely nothing to do with slandering and making takfir of the companions. The people aren’t on the street because they want to slander the companions. Maybe you should try to listen and know why they are on the street. So let’s stick to the topic at hand please.

            When I read how some people try to make Bahrain a special case, it really sickens me. We really loose everything if we don’t stand for our values. And we muslims are very loud to criticise others when they torture us, but when it’s the other way around suddenly we have to “balance the harms out”.

            Like Ibn Taymiyyah said: Allah will help a just nation even if they are kuffaar. And Allah will not help an unjust nation even if they are muslims.

            I agree with you on the face that we should study our deen because some people are confused in thinking that we will achieve any “Nasr” by suppressing other people.

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          • Then understand why they are protesting. Try reading the posts by Bahrainis And those who live in the Middle East and interact with Shia’s there on this page to start with.

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          • @F: Wasn’t taught to either, and neither do I hate them. I’ve just had enough amongst colleagues and close friends amongst Shia’a (even in da’wah organisations back in the day) to know how to coordinate my dealings with them. And especeially when to trust them and when not to. It’s not our fault that they choose to lie to us all the time through their principles of taqiyyah despite our efforts to kindly call them to the correct understanding of the deen.

            These people are not on the streets because they don’t have rights, they are on the streets because they want a Shia’a government and they want to make it a Shia’a state. Reading the comments by the Bahrainis here is enough testament to that. Come to Riyadh where I am living now and meet the Shias here, meet the Iraqi and Irani Sunni da’ees who have done da’wah with these people and seen first hand their intentions, and then you will understand where we are coming from.

            Regardless, I think it would be a good idea for you to investigate the fiqh of Umar ibn Al Khattab and how he knew when to be strict and firm on an issue and when to be lenient and employ intellectual flexibility. Good reads on this topic are available in English.

            The time is too critical in the world right now to be emotional about such issues. It is Imperative we learn and understand the usool of our deen and our shariah so that we can intellectually analyze what happens around the world and make sure we present comprehensive solutions instead of knee jerk opinions. I don’t pretend to have those solutions, all I have tried to indicate in my comments here is the importance of understanding this methodology.

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          • Lastly, because I think I’ve spent enough time on this page.

            Make sure you properly understand a situation before you comment on it. The way you approach it back home in Canada/USA is not the way to approach it here because the situation on the ground is nowhere near the same as shown in the media, whether it is al-Jazeera or BBC or FOX.

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        • Rationalist Muslim

          @Saeed: I can as easily say that your logic is distorted. So, rather, present something to refute my logic.

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  23. Assalamua alaikum,

    You missed my point completely. Whether there is a sunni mosque in Tehran is not relevant. I have friends who have worked in Iran as physicians and were not at all alienated because they are sunni, but the comparison is bogus regardless. Every shia is not responsible for Iranian policies and the Bahrain shias do not deserve to be oppressed because of the Iranian government’s policies. I repeat that we as Muslims must start learning to behave as Muslims–justice, fairness, mercy, respect, and truth even when we disagree.

    I’m not going to be the sucker that falls for the divide and conquer nonsense played with the Muslim world for too long. This is not Iran versus the Gulf monarchies for the imagined leadership of the Muslim world–both factions are unIslamic jokes: neither is my leader, and doing my duty as a Muslim to say that the Bahrain government should represent Shias in majority roles equivalent to their population percentage is Islamic and required. Opression is not the way in Islam.

    Iran is not Bahrain and the Bahrain government is unislamic in many aspects, including being opressors of the population; they are not the Caliphate. Bahrain shias are not a threat to the faith of the sunnis in the gulf, or anywhere–I know my Islam and truth will win out always….so stop the idiotic fear-mongering used to justify oppression and keep the monarchies in power.

    Of course, the Sunnis in Bahrain don’t usually care like most priviledged small groups in Muslim countries (the elite), and the two sides are competing in bad deeds out of anger, but that doesn’t excuse the oppression.

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  24. As-salamu-alaikum,

    I am married into a Bahraini family & was in constant touch with my family during the turmoil there. Do i support the demand of the opposition that shias should have more political power, yes! But at the same time the condition of shias was not terrible to begin with as portrayed. My wife & other in-laws went to University of Bahrain and most of the recipient of scholarships were shias, they also hold the top positions in hospitals, schools and most major companies in Bahrain. Do some sunni discriminate shias when it comes to jobs, yes they do but the vice versa is also true. Shias also get the same unemployment benefits as the sunnis do and are equally allowed to take part in free govt housing. This is from what witnessed there during my stays.

    Btw my brother in law goes to a school where majority are shia and his middle name in Omar, guess what they changed his middle name to in his school records – ALI! And the admin & teachers call him Ali… numerous complaints have not stopped the practice yet.

    Bahrain Center of Human Rights is not unbiased rights organisation. I do follow it on twitter & FB and retweeted their tweets in the beginning of the protests but if u follow their tweets u will notice that they turned a blind eye to the violence done by the protesters. I contacted them numerous times informing them of the violence done to sunni civilians but there was no response.

    Some of my in-laws work for the MOI and these r ppl i trust every much… muaddins tongue was cut off when he refused to say the shia adhan, cops were run with cars and then dragged on the roads. Doctors refused treat sunni cops & civilians. Ambulances were used to transport weapons. Expats from India, Pakistan & Bangladesh were attacked… this I personally witnessed. The apartment complex my in-laws live in was attacked by shia youth, the police came in time to disperse them.. to this day my mother in-law is terrified. Senior police officers refused to go to duty at one point as they were not giving order to shoot in self defense for the longest time but it’s portrayed as these cops were trigger happy goons.

    Hundreds of files & cds have been confiscated which show that the opposition was receiving support from Iran. The documents show that the overthrow of the monarchy was planned for 2015 but since the success of Egypt revolt, the shias in Bahrain thought they could engage in the plan now. I am not sure how much of this was in the English media or even the Arabic media but information I have is from very reliable sources.

    And none of this was reported by BCHR or any of the outside media. BTV is reported all of this but I wouldn’t call the coverage of BTV unbiased either.. they showed only the what the protesters were doing wrong with no coverage of the other side. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

    The crown prince is a very reasonable man was willing to sit for discussion form the beginning but opposition didn’t want that. Are there reforms needed, yes but not like those in Syria or Egypt. Unlike dictators, Kings operate differently. They r always want to ensure their kingdom can last into future generation so do take care of their ppl. They r not as evil as portrayed in the west but not as noble as portrayed in their homelands. But having lived in monarchies to dictatorships to democracies in developing world and now living in the developed world… despite their many flaws I would prefer monarchy over democracy.. here I can say things & there i can’t but in the end what happens is what the rich and powerful want. We think we have impact here but it’s all show.. atleast in monarchies when a goal is set, the whole country move towards it.. don’t have to change goals for the sake of dirty politics or election cycle.

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  25. Wasn’t taught to either, and neither do I hate them. I’ve just had enough amongst colleagues and close friends amongst Shia’a (even in da’wah organisations back in the day) to know how to coordinate my dealings with them. And especeially when to trust them and when not to. It’s not our fault that they choose to lie to us all the time through their principles of taqiyyah despite our efforts to kindly call them to the correct understanding of the deen.

    Regardless, I think it would be a good idea for you to investigate the fiqh of Umar ibn Al Khattab and how he knew when to be strict and firm on an issue and when to be lenient and employ intellectual flexibility. Good reads on this topic are available in English.

    The time is too critical in the world right now to be emotional about such issues. It is Imperative we learn and understand the usool of our deen and our shariah so that we can intellectually analyze what happens around the world and make sure we present comprehensive solutions instead of knee jerk opinions. I don’t pretend to have those solutions, all I have tried to indicate in my comments here is the importance of understanding this methodology.

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    • Rationalist Muslim

      You have some meat in your argument.

      Regarding people who are calling this “oppression,” since when punishment for a crime committed began to be equated to oppression? If that is the case then Allah is also an oppressor for giving cancer to an innocent short old lady! But we know that is not the case, at least I believe so as a Muslim. Punishment is not always oppression. Here, in the case of zainab, punishment was correctly meted out in order to punish anarchists for what they have brought: chaos, death of innocents and bloodshed on rather peaceful streets of Bahrain. I am not a Bahraini but a Pakistani and Pakistani troops went there to help. These Shiite goons killed innocent Pakistani expats in retaliation.

      I hope Pakistanis also start doing same thing to secularist separatist pakhtoons, mqm goons and the like.

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