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Two Shiite Clerics Arrested for 15 Days over Sermons They Delivered in Ashura

2018-09-19 - 8:00 p

Bahrain Mirror: The Bahraini authorities remanded Sheikh Hani Al-Bana'a and Sheikh Yasin Al-Jamri for 15 days pending investigation over charge of inciting hatred against the regime on background of sermons they delivered in Ashura.

The content of the sermons upon which the two clerics were detained hasn't been known yet.

Shiites have been commemorating Ashura for hundreds of years. The rituals they practice begin with the Islamic Month of Muharram each year and last for more than 10 days. The commemorations include mourning processions and religious lectures usually delivered by clerics in special centres named "Ma'tem" or "Hussainiya". The commemorations also include mourning processions that march through the streets during which poems are recited, accompanied with beating on the chests.

The government officially recognizes these rituals, as public and private institutions close on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram to allow people to commemorate the occasion.

Over the past years, the authorities have imposed extensive censorship on the content of religious speeches, which are often broadcast live on the channels of Hussainiyas on YouTube and other networks. Despite the fact that the political content of the Ashura speeches has decreased significantly, the authorities annually summon preachers and eulogy reciters, sometimes questioning them about purely religious content included in their sermons and poems.

The authorities had summoned Sayed Mohieldin Al-Mashaal (who was recently released after spending one year in jail) to investigate him for the third time within a week and also summoned Sheikh Ali Al-Jufairi.

Sayed Sadiq Al-Ghuraifi and Sheikh Mahdi Al-Karzakani were also summoned yesterday.

For his part, lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi said that what is presented by the preachers is taken from books of Muslims, and derives its legitimacy from established customs, which the Constitution of Bahrain recognizes . He noted that the ongoing interrogation and at times imprisonment of preachers is considered a siege imposed on religious rites, which is a crime against state security since it represents a violation of the constitution.

Arabic Version