3 April, 2020 – Twenty-two international religious rights group written to the King of Bahrain raising serious concerns regarding ongoing religious freedom violations in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in particular against the kingdom’s Shia Muslim citizens and surrounding important Shia religious dates and events, as well as political marginalization based on religion. The letter which was released today led by Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain and supported by leading international religious rights groups called for an end of the systematic deep rooted religious discrimination policies in Bahrain.

In the letter, the rights groups Bahrain’s asserts that discrimination against its Shia citizens also manifests in the political arena, where systematic gerrymandering has ensured that Shia citizens are less represented in government. Shia areas that are densely populated have the same number of parliamentary representatives as less populated Sunni areas. In addition, combination of overt religious discrimination through arrest and detention of religious leaders and disrespect for religiously significant days, and political disenfranchisement based on religion has deepened the marginalization of Bahrain’s Shia population. The rights groups urge the Bahraini government to release clerics from prison.

Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB): This letter came at the right time to bring the attention to the widespread systematic religious discrimination in Bahrain especially when it comes to treating Bahraini citizens who are stranded in Iran and require assistance from the Bahraini government. There is clear case of discrimination in how the government treat the evacuation of its citizens from Iran than other parts of the world. Bahrain needs to show by actions its stated commitment to religious tolerance by a speedy evacuation of citizens stranded in Iran and not the current plan that put their health and life in danger.”

For copy of the letter click here