Middle East News
Bahraini Shiites protest in anger over Iraq shrine bombings
Jun 13, 2007, 21:07 GMT
Manama, Bahrain- Bahraini Shiites marched through the streets of the capital Manama Wednesday night in protest over the bombings at Iraq's Golden Mosque, directing their anger at the United States and an intolerant faction of Islam.
In two separate marches held back-to-back, protestors shouted 'Death to America' and 'No to Terrorism.' One march passed by the British embassy compound.
Shiites make up more than 60 per cent of the Gulf islands population and have reacted sharply to regional developments affecting Shiites particularly in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.
The bombing of the revered Al-Askari Shiite mosque in Samarra destroyed two minarets that were left standing after the 2006 bombing of the shrine's golden dome that sparked a wave of sectarian violence that is still washing across Iraq, killing thousands and bringing the country to the brink of civil war.
The attacks were blamed by US and Iraqi officials on al-Qaeda extremists.
The marchers held both the United States and the Takfeereah groups, factions that paint Muslims who differ with them as infidels, responsible for the attacks.
Key Shiite groups on the Gulf island condemned the bombing.
Olama Islamic Council (OIC), Bahrain's most influential Shiite group, denounced the attack and warned it was an effort to heighten sectarian divisions, conflicts and antagonisms.
'There is no doubt that forces hostile to the nation are striving to create sectarian strife, fuel sectarian differences, and strain relations between brothers,' in a malicious effort to control the fortunes of Muslims, an OIC statement said.
The OIC also warned that the attacks were designed to have very serious repercussions in Islamic countries in addition to provoking problems in Iraq itself by subverting the political process, prolonging the US-led occupation and sparking sectarian fighting.
Bahrain's Shiite opposition group Al Wefaq Islamic Society, which has a 17-member bloc in parliament, said that the attacks should raise vigilance about plots that threaten to undermine the unity and cohesion of Muslims on religious and national levels.
After the February 2006 destruction of the dome of the Golden Mosque, more than 100,000 Bahrainis also demonstrated.
The bombing has raised fears of a sectarian civil war in Iraq following reports of reprisal attacks against Sunnis casting an even darker shadow on relations between Sunnis and Shiites across the region.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur