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Bahrainis Continue Protests Over Samarra Bombing
MANAMA, 28 February 2006 — Bahraini Shiites took to the streets in Muharraq and Aali on Sunday night marking the fifth day of protests over Wednesday’s dawn bombing in Iraq that destroyed the Askariya Mosque in Samarra.
The protests followed strong condemnation by Bahrain’s Cabinet of the attacks on Iraq’s religious sites in Samarra with the Bahraini Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa ibn Salman Al-Khalifa, warning that such sectarianism harms Iraq’s national unity. He also urged for self-control, calm and dialogue to stop the country from slipping into civil war.
Bahrain’s leading Shiite opposition society Al Wefaq, which echoed the prime minister’s concerns, condemned the attacks on Sunni mosques and the killing of Iraqi Sunnis while accusing the terrorists who carried out the attacks on the mosque of carrying out the attacks on Iraqi Sunnis to create a rift among the Iraqis.
Al Wefaq in its statement also criticized ‘some’ satellite channels, which it did not name, for fostering the views of terrorists and painting the fighting between the Iraqis against each other as ‘jihad’.
Sunday’s protests, where hundreds took part, came on the heels of one of the largest ever protests to have been organized in Bahrain when well over a hundred thousand Bahrainis, including some thousands of women, marched last Friday denouncing Al-Qaeda and its supporters and also holding the US and Israel equally responsible for the attacks.
The Olama Islamic Council (OIC) chairman, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qasem, who led Friday’s protest blasted the Takfeereah groups, which are groups that seek to paint Muslims who differ with them as infidels, whom Shiites accuse of carrying out the attacks.
“If the Takfeerean believe that Islam is only what they believe and everything else is not Islam and that the bloodshed of other Muslims and non-Muslims is acceptable to them than they have to kill billions of people in this world,” he told the crowd.
“And when they are done killing they will turn on themselves because they understand nothing but the language of blood and their only relation to religion is the bloodshed of others.”
Sheikh Qasem also accused the occupation forces of encouraging the attacks by the Takfeereah groups.
Eleven Bahraini Shiite Islamic societies had earlier issued a combined statement condemning the attacks. The Bahrain’s Supreme Islamic Council (SIC), which represents Sunni and Shiite clerics, also condemned the attacks in a separate statement.