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Bahrain Takes Security Measures Following ISIS Threat

Zinj, Bahrain. 23rd May 2012 -- Bahrainis praying at the demolished mosque site. -- Bahrainis pray where Alalawiat mosque once stood in Zinj. Alalawiat mosque was one of 30 Shiite mosques destroyed after the Peninsula Shield came into the area during 16 March 2011. Photograph by  bahrain14feb bilad. Copyright: Demotix

Zinj, Bahrain. 23rd May 2012 — Bahrainis praying at the demolished mosque site. — Bahrainis pray where Alalawiat mosque once stood in Zinj. Alalawiat mosque was one of 30 Shiite mosques destroyed after the Peninsula Shield came into the area during 16 March 2011. Photograph by
bahrain14feb bilad. Copyright: Demotix

Bahrain announced it is taking precautions to thwart an ISIS threat targeting the country's Shia community next Friday. Observers are skeptic and wonder how will the same regime which has continued to wage a fierce crackdown on the country's Shia population for the previous four years following anti-government protests be entrusted to protect them today.

Following two separate attacks on Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia last month and an attack in Kuwait two days ago, the Al-Qaeda affiliate which has carved itself its own state which spans across Syria and Iraq, promises its next target will be Bahrain on July 3, 2015.

ISIS Bahraini leader Turki Al-Binali's announcement of the threat against Bahrain has since been widely circulated on social media, triggering concerns about the government's efforts to ensure the safety and security of the country's Shia population, currently at the receiving end of a security crackdown for the role they played in calling for democratic reforms during the so-called Arab Spring-style protests, which rocked the country since February 14, 2011.

Editor-in-Chief of Al-Wasat Newspaper Mansour Al-Jamri says Bahrain is under alert:

Bahraini authorities have since announced several measures to be taken ahead of next Friday, the second to fall in the holy month of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that the Minister of Interior met with the Under-Secretary and Chief of Public Security as well as the General Directors of all Police Directorates to discuss security procedures.

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) tweeted via their official account the measures to be taken, and what has been discussed in the meeting:

The MOI called on volunteers from mosques to come forward and get necessary training from security directorates in preparation:

Some still say the government isn't doing enough. Anonymous Bahraini Twitter user Freedom Prayers shares those photographs of cars in Bahrain and Kuwait boasting ISIS stickers being driven on streets in broad daylight:

These cars are not in Syria nor in Iraq. They're in Bahrain and the government did nothing

Investigation of the terror attack on Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government has found a tie between the suicide bomber and Bahrain. The Bahraini MOI confirmed:

Amid preparations to protect the mosques and their visitors, in particular the Shias, it is important to note that the same government that is announcing measures to protect those places of worship, is also responsible for demolishing Shia mosques in Bahrain during the popular uprising.

Human rights defender Said Yousif compares the government of Bahrain to ISIS:

What the system in Bahrain has done in the demolition of Shia mosques is terrorism, Takfeer, and encouragement of extremism, and what ISIS has done of bombing Shiite mosques is also terrorism and Takfeer

Takfeer is “the practice of excommunication, one Muslim declaring a non-Muslim or an apostate, an unbeliever or kafir.”

Prominent Bahraini political activist living in exile Saeed Shehabi echoes a similar sentiment:

The Minister had a separate meeting on Sunday with both Chairmen of the Sunni and Jaffary Endowment, as well as Minister of Justice Islamic Affairs and Endowments and Chief of Public Security. The minister called for “hard work and coordination”.

According to the report published on the MOI’s website, the chairmen discussed installing CCTVs and other technologies at places of worship. They also decided that mosques should be closed after each prayer to allow caretakers to monitor all parts of the building and its surroundings.

Extreme religious speeches will not be tolerated in Bahrain, says the MOI's Twitter account, and authorities will take “legal procedures” against anyone whose sectarian speech puts the country in danger. Yet, while human rights activists are targeted by the authorities for their tweets and public statements, little to no action has been taken against preachers spewing hate against the country's Shia population.

The minister has emphasized in his meeting in the second meeting the importance of using religious sermons and speeches to unite people and “promote national unity” explaining that politics should not be associated with places of worship.”

On a related note, Al Wasat Arabic daily reported that the largest Shia political bloc Alwefaq National Islamic Society was recently banned from practicing its political activities in their places of worship. The Ministry of Justice issued the order according to the political associations law which prohibits any political or regulatory activities in places of worship.

Meanwhile, the Information Minister confirms preparations to keep people safe according to an independent news account Bahrain News:

Information Minister: We took all necessary measures for “securing worshipers” from terrorist acts

 

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