Al Salman welcomes the report of the U.S. State Department on “International Religious Freedom” and calls for the US to exercise effective pressure on Manama to stop religious persecution.

Sheikh Maytham Al Salman, Head of Religious Freedom at BHRO, has welcomed the International Religious Freedom Report issued by the U.S. State Department on Monday, July 28, 2014 11:15 am EDT  ( 6:15 am Bahrain Time). The Annual report issued by the Office of International Religious Freedom, has been released by the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry who delivered a short speech in which he stressed on the continuation for support of democracy and human rights principles; calling on considering religious freedom a basic human right. Following which questions were answered by Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Mr. Thomas Malinowski, whom the Bahraini Government regarded as persona non grata just three weeks ago.

Sheikh Maytham Al Salman welcomed the report regarding it as an extension of the outcome reached by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom “USCIRF” in its annual report and dozens of local and international reports that preceded it; saying that the report confirms continuing violations against Shia citizens in Bahrain, and refers to the arbitrary arrests and harassment that occurred during Ashura in the month of November of last year.

Al Salman said: “The report confirmed continuing sectarian and religious incitement of hatred between social factions in the official and semi-official media; referring to the failure of the government in taking any legal measures and actions that criminalize the incitement of hatred against Shia citizens.”

Al Salman continued: “The report confirmed the authenticity of our reports about sectarian discrimination in official circles, including the Army, the Ministry of Interior and the media; the continued stalling by officials, in the rebuilding of 38 mosques (registered in Jaafari endowments) that were demolished illegally, and banning prayers in some of the demolished mosques. The report also pointed to the dissolution of the Islamic Council of Scholars, which is the largest religious institution of the Shiite community in Bahrain. The report also noted the continued policy of impunity and legal accountability for abuses committed against citizens based on their religious background.

Al Salman has demanded the U.S. administration to exert effective pressure on the regime in Bahrain to stop religious persecution and systematic sectarian discrimination. He also demanded the U.S. administration to exert effective pressure on the government of Bahrain to rebuild all the demolished mosques in their original locations, and hold those responsible for demolishing the 38 mosques of the Shiite community accountable for their crimes. Al Salman also demanded the U.S. administration to urge the regime in Bahrain to criminalize the incitement of religious hatred.