Bahrain Moves to Ban Amal Opposition Group
The Ministry of Justice announced Monday a move to ban the Islamic Action group, or Amal, one of seven legal opposition groups in Bahrain. The ministry released a statement claiming that Amal had committed “grave breaches” of Bahrain’s constitution, including meeting in a house of worship and following “the teachings of a religious scholar which blatantly calls for violence and instigates hatred,” in reference to Iraqi cleric Sayed Hadi al-Modarresi. Amal responded by claiming the government targeted them because they had publicly rejected overtures for a dialogue, citing the need to free political prisoners first. In a statement, the government told other opposition groups to take note, which some see as threatening to Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest opposition group.
F. Brinley Bruton discussed possible implications of the proposed union between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, including the possibility of a renewed Iranian claim to Bahrain. Iran accepted Bahraini independence in 1970, but a union with Saudi Arabia would nullify that. Bahrain’s royal family have embraced the idea of a military and economic union, but neighbors like the United Arab Emirates have voiced concern for the power implications of such a move.
Human Rights First reported on a resurgence of student harassment for criticizing the government. University officials interrogated Alyaa Mohammed, a 21 year old student, three times for texting “Down with Hamad” on her Blackberry. The University eventually suspended her for the semester for “Phrases that insult His Majesty the King.”