Was Al-Shuwaikh Obsequy Dome Demolished or Did it Collapse?

2020-05-21 - 10:57 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): On Sunday, May 17, 2020, the Dome of Al-Shuwaikh obsequy built in the Bahraini village of Barbar collapsed. Its collapse once again brought to light the religious persecution that the Shiite community in Bahrain suffers from as well as the constant restrictions on their religious rites.

On Sunday morning, the dome of the obsequy, which was built 41 years ago, in 1979, collapsed. Since 2008, its administrators have requested its reconstruction, which required the approval of the Ministry of Justice through a request submitted to the Jaffaria Endowments Directorate.

Since 2008, this request has remained in the office drawer of Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, who is still in office.

All official bodies, including all successive Waqf directorates, confirm that the request has been pending at the Minister's office since then.

What the authorities are doing through the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments is not new, as a personal dispute between Justice Minister Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa and the head of the Jaffaria Waqf department Mohsen Al-Asfour broke out after the latter wrote a lengthy letter to the king (May 8, 2019) explaining the obstacles the minister puts in the face of the work of the Board of Directors. 

The letter to the king confirmed that the Ministry of Justice was preventing the Jaffaria endowments from registering any land plots for the construction of new mosques and obsequies or obstructing the investment of the currently registered endowments.

The people of Bahrain know what the king's answer was. He dismissed the head of the Waqf administration, Mohsen Al-Asfour, who was one of the regime's fiercest loyalists and defended all the crimes that occurred against citizens after the pro-democracy movement in 2011.

The Bassiouni Commission appointed by the king in 2011 to investigate the country's events documented that the regime destroyed more than 30 Shiite mosques. It also revealed that the authorities had committed the crime, and stressed that "the timing and style of the demolition gives the impression that this is a collective punishment for a particular community."

That year, political and human rights groups documented that the regime and its followers attacked 412 obsequies (Hussainiyas) and destroyed more than 35 mosques. They added that the number of destroyed Hussaini "free food stands" exceeded 1,070, and that the number of burnt Quran copies exceeded 83, let alone the burnt 1,012 prayers and Dua' books.

The collapse of Al-Shuwaikh obsequy dome in Barbar brings this issue back to the light again. Yesterday, investigators from the Interior Ministry examined the situation. It is ironic that Interior Ministry investigators expressed surprise at the fact that the building was still being used by people.

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that the official authorities in Bahrain are still demolishing Shiite mosques and obsequies, but in another way, just as is the case of Al-Shuwaikh obsequy. Allow buildings to become old and prevent building permits until mosques and obsequies collapse on people's heads. As they kill people slowly, they destroy their institutions slowly as well.

Arabic Version