Ashura 2023: Discipline, Mass Attendance and Interior Ministry's Yazidi Doctrine
2023-08-04 - 2:07 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The 10 days of Muharram have passed, only 10 days a year, in which the Shiite community, which represents the majority of Bahrain's population, expresses its grief over the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. However, in recent years it has been facing unprecedented targeted attacks carried out by the authorities, represented by the Ministry of Interior and other government agencies.
With the approach of the Ashura season, the authorities deliberately targeted Ashura manifestations and removed them from some areas, and with the beginning of the season, the Minister of Interior made sectarian statements that irritated the attendees from the boards of directors of some of Bahrain's Ma'atams (Shia mourning halls).
However, Shiite citizens responded to his sectarian words with an unprecedented heavy presence since the first night of commemoration. The pictures of the participants attending the Sanabis Ma'atam on the first night are proof enough, as hundreds filled the streets of Sanabis and chanted the slogans of Imam Hussein just 4 kilometers away from the Interior Ministry building in the capital, Manama.
A number of members of the boards of directors of Ma'atams this year talked about how they were overwhelmed with attendees, while a number of Ma'atams that used to put chairs in each space were forced to remove them completely while keeping the chairs in the vicinity of the Ma'atam only, for the elderly and the sick, in order to make room for the largest possible number of attendees.
A mass attendance accompanied by extreme caution of the authorities' handling of this event. The authorities did not disappoint anyone, as they basically banned this year cooking at food stands (Madeef) with the "security and safety control" requirements they have imposed. The owner of one of the food stands said the requirements were not justified because "these food stands have been established for more than twenty years, and none have been exposed to unfortunate accidents. The competent authorities could have requested the placement of a fire extinguisher in the event of any accident that may occur, but the ban cannot be justified, and it confirms the existence of sectarian targeting."
Another citizen faced an incident in Manama, as he was arrested by employees of the Ministry of Interior while distributing water to mourners, because he was saying, "Drink water and curse Yazid," a statement that appears to target the ideology of the authorities who apparently harbor passion for Yazid.
Back at the beginning of the season, citizens circulated despicable sectarian tweets from a Saudi resident in Bahrain in which he openly insulted Imam Hussein, peace be upon him. The Ministry of Interior remained silent for days, and then issued a statement saying that the person in question was outside Bahrain and had posted tweets "offensive to one of the sects".
This is how the Interior Ministry views the grandson of the Prophet as specific to "one of the sects", despite the rare resentment of some members of the Sunni community in Bahrain towards this statement and their objection to it. The authorities also justified the arrest of those who cursed the killer of Imam Hussein, because he seems to be a symbol glorified by them.
Nonetheless, the Bahraini Shiites overcame these provocations with more commitment and mass attendance, and concluded the season with a very large presence in the capital, Manama, to hold a central prayer and listen to the 10th Muharram eve speech delivered by the scholar Sheikh Mahmoud Al-A'ali.
The Interior Ministry stood helpless in front of this discipline, looking for a new way to disturb and strain the atmosphere, so it summoned Sheikh Al-A'ali for interrogation. Meanwhile, the reasons for his summoning and the charges that will be brought against him remain unknown.
Ashura has ended, and participants have demonstrated an awareness of the responsibility entrusted to them. The goal was clear, to continue these rituals with mass attendance and eliminating the cause for any excuse that the authorities may use against this sect in every small and large detail surrounding this occasion. As for the authorities, they have once again proved their weakness and filth, as well as their inability and helplessness to confront this determination and this challenge, which the people have won year after year.