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Bahrain Releases Decree of Sheikh Qassim’s Citizenship Removal

In a move defiant to international calls, Manama released a decree signed by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa showing his endorsement for the move to revoke the citizenship of senior Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.

According to Bahraini media reports on Sunday, King Hamad officially approved the decree to revoke the prominent Shia cleric’s citizenship shortly after it was issued two weeks ago.

The Eremnews website also reported that King Hamad separately announced his endorsement on Saturday. Since Manama’s measure, Bahrain has been the scene of multiple protests and demonstrations in support of Sheikh Qassim.

Several sit-ins have also been held outside Sheikh Isa Qassim’s home in the northwestern village of Diraz.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s former ambassador to Bahrain, stressed that King Hamad’s actions will undoubtedly throw the country deeper into turmoil.

“Bahrain’s government should know that the solution to the country’s problems is solely a political one… Al Khalifa must depend upon its people,” added the newly appointed adviser to the Iranian foreign minister.

On June 20, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement that the Al Khalifah regime has revoked Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship, claiming that he had actively sought “creation of a sectarian environment” through his connections with foreign powers, and that he had misused his religious position to advance a political agenda and serve foreign interests.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists.ijtihad

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A Bahraini court has delayed the verdict in the case of top Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose nationality was revoked last year. The court had earlier set March 14 as the date to issue its ruling on Sheikh Qassim's case, but it adjourned its decision until May 7, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported on Tuesday. Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of his nationality last June over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The clergyman, who is in his mid-70s, has denied the allegations, refused to be assigned a lawyer and declined to attend any of the trial sessions. Qassim faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted. In addition to Sheikh Qassim, Bahraini authorities are also trying the cleric’s office head and staffer, Sheikh Hussein Mahrous and Mirza al-Dirazi, respectively. The trio are accused of laundering money and raising funds without licenses in connection with the practice of Khums - a religious tax which followers of Islam pay to their highest religious authorities for use in charities and other donations. On Monday, people held mass protests in more than 50 Bahraini villages, among them Qassim's hometown, Diraz. The rallies came after Bahraini clerics released a joint statement and called on all fellow citizens to show their solidarity with the cleric, stressing that the people's unwavering support for him is the “religious duty” of all Muslims. Anti-regime protesters have taken to the streets on an almost daily basis ever since the popular uprising began in Bahrain in February 2011. The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority....

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