Bahrain revokes citizenship of Isa Qassim for ‘promoting violence’
Shiite preacher Isa Qassim is accused to have used his position to ‘serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence’
Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenship of a Bahraini national on Monday, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions, the Interior Ministry told Al Arabiya English.
Preacher Isa Qassim, who is a Shiite, was accused to have used his position to “serve foreign interests and promote ... sectarianism and violence,” a statement on Bahrain News Agency (BNA) read.
“He used places of worships as a political arena to serve foreign interests and maintained an environment supportive of violence and extremism,” an interior ministry spokesperson told Al Arabiya English.
“On many occasions, Qassim contravened the law, including by attempting to affect the elections with [religious edicts] fatawas encouraging people to boycott the democratic process thereby giving up their rights as citizens of Bahrain,” the spokesperson added.
While Bahrain did not specifically name which foreign power Qassim was “serving,” the kingdom alongside the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) haves long expressed alarm over Iranian interference in the region.
In a related development, the ruling evoked a condemnation from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia labeled as a terrorist group by the US and many GCC countries.
A Hezbollah statement carried by several media outlets called upon Bahrainis to "express anger and rage" in response to the ruling.
The decision to revoke Qassim’s citizenship comes just days after a Bahraini criminal court stripped eight people of their citizenship after convicting them of “establishing and raising donations to fund a terror organization named Bahraini Hezbollah.”
A number of fellow GCC and Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Egypt have expressed their support to this recent Bahraini security measures.
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