Sheikh Mahmoud al-Ali, the vice-president of the Islamic Scholars’ Council, Bahrain’s largest Shia religious and cultural organization, was arrested on Wednesday for voicing solidarity with Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia majority.
Al-Wefaq reacted a day later by saying the arrest showed the enormity of the ruling Al Khalifah regime’s hostility towards civil liberties and dissent.
The group said the latest arrest is a reminder of the ruling Al Khalifah regime’s brutal crackdown on religious freedoms, calling for the immediate release of al-Ali and other clergymen.
Al-Ali’s apprehension, it added, is part of the regime’s calculated scheme to insult and humiliate Shia Islam and its followers.
Sheikh Qassim had his citizenship revoked in June 2016 over accusations that he had used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The cleric has denied the allegations.
Since 2011, Bahrain has witnessed daily protests against its trampling on the rights of the religious majority. The regime has come down hard on the rallies, killing scores and arresting hundreds.
The crackdown has seen Manama dissolving both al-Wefaq and the Islamic Scholars’ Council.