Following a four-week pause, Friday and congregational prayers were resumed in Shiite mosques today on Friday (July 15, 2016), as part of a joint decision made by Shiite clerics. Sheikh Mohammad Sanqour led the largest Friday prayer in Al-Diraz Mosque, calling on the authorities to cool down the atmosphere and restore trust with the citizens.
A large number of Shiite clerics issued a statement four weeks ago announcing the halt of Friday and congregational prayers due to lack of security. The decision to revoke the Bahraini Shia spiritual leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim's citizenship on June 20 instigated a crisis, which contributed to making Shiites feel directly targeted.
"We are [forced] to choose between performing our Friday and Congregational prayers according to our Shiite jurisdiction (Fiqh) or according to political desires and impulses, and since a secure environment is not being provided for the performance of these prayers, they will be halted" said the Imams of mosques in a statement issued at the time under the title "Banned from Prayers".
The statement further noted that "the Shiite sect is passing through critical conditions of systematic persecution that reached its peak these days, until Shiites citizens felt unsafe to practice their religious rituals; including Friday and congregational prayers, which is the most important religious practice."
The statement was issued after the regime summoned and arrested a number of Shiite clerics and Imams of mosques.
The Friday prayers were brought to a halt since June 16, 2016 in most of the mosques across the country, in a response to the call of clerics and Imams and was resumed today on Friday (July 15, 2016).
Sheikh Mohammad Sanqour, who is leading Friday prayers in Al-Diraz mosque on behalf of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, delivered a sermon in which he urged the authority to cool down the atmosphere and restore trust with the people.
Sheikh Sanqour stressed that the latest developments implied that the Shiite sect is targeted, adding that the island kingdom "does not suffer from a sectarian crisis".
"Al-Wefaq has never been an obstacle to finding a solution for the current crisis," Sheikh Sanqour further stated, highlighting that "suspending Al-Wefaq worsens the crisis rather than solving it."
"The most serious problem is targeting Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim," he said, stressing that "Sheikh Qassim has to be honored."
After prayers, a peaceful protest was staged in Diraz in which protestors chanted slogans demanding freedom, and calling on the authorities to reverse their decision against Sheikh Qassim.