Manama Warned Against Harassing Senior Cleric

Manama Warned Against  Harassing Senior Cleric Manama Warned Against  Harassing Senior Cleric

The Foreign Ministry has denounced a decision by the Bahrain government to strip the citizenship of that country's most senior Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry also condemned the "Manama's intensification of its security approach toward religious and national leaders, its opposition to religious beliefs and principles and the misuse of religious assets and funds of the people of Bahrain."

It added that such measures "undermine any hope of reforms" in the tiny Persian Gulf Arab state through dialogue and peaceful means, Press TV reported.

The ministry urged the pro-western kingdom to end the protracted conflict in the country by stopping its unhelpful  behavior and avoid "the destruction of all the bridges for communication with the people and moderate leaders, accepting realities and holding a serious national dialogue."

Bahrain on Monday revoked the sheikh 's citizenship  accusing him of spreading extremism. Bahrain's Interior Ministry claimed in a statement that Sheikh Qassim actively sought the "creation of a sectarian environment" through his connections with foreign powers.

It also claimed that the cleric had abused his religious credentials to advance a political agenda and serve foreign interests.

The senior preacher "caused harm to the interests of the Bahraini kingdom or had acted contrary to the duty of loyalty to the government," the ministry claimed.

Describing as illegal donations to Sheikh Qassim by his followers in Bahrain, the government accused him of receiving money and using it without first obtaining the required legal permissions.

  Stern Warning

Meanwhile, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said the safety and wellbeing of Sheikh Qassim is a red line whose violation will have grave consequences for the rulers in Bahrain and the region.

Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of IRGC's Qods Force, said on Monday overstepping this red line would "leave the people [of Bahrain] with no other choice but armed resistance."

"Definitely, the Al Khalifa (ruling family) will pay the price for this [move] and it will result in nothing other than the collapse of the regime."

Soleimani warned that supporters of the Bahraini government should know that disrespecting Qassim and the continuation of disproportionate crackdown on the Bahraini people will "trigger a bloody intifada".

The IRGC commander noted that the regime in Manama is committing more crimes on a daily basis and represses its people while the United Nations, the US and western powers are bystanders who maintain their "meaningful silence".