RNA - "We salute the people of our nation who are concentrating all their energies on commemorating this great anniversary," said Al-Wefaq in a statement issued on Friday, adding that they "emphasize the importance of massively attending Husseiniyas (halls for religious ceremonies in Shiite Islam) and Ashura processions and events."
The first ten days of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Hijri calendar, mark the martyrdom of the third Shiite Imam and the grandson of Prophet Mohammad SAW, Imam Hussein AS, in 680 AD in a battle with the tyrant of the time. The tenth day of Muharram, known as Ashura, marks the day when Imam Hussein was martyred with 72 of his loyal companions. This year the Month of Muharram commenced on Friday in most countries.
Al-Wefaq noted that this Ashura anniversary "has arrived while our leader, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, is besieged and placed under house arrest by the regime, many of our sons and women are in the regime's prisons, and all our institutions, Husseiniyas and activities are being targeted and repressed. However, all of this increases our determination to continue in full strength until our demands are met and our pride and dignity are preserved."
Al-Wefaq Society further condemned the Bahraini regime's continued practice of the same violations against the religious manifestations of the Ashura season," deeming "this behavior is a systematic policy and a constant feature every year, representing a determination on fighting religious freedoms and freedom of belief."
"This policy targets a major component of the Islamic communities in the country and restricts religious freedoms, in violation of the constitution and international covenants, and reflects the size of the gap between the regime and the people," the statement added.
Concluding their statement, the opposition group highlighted that Bahrainis have been practicing these religious rituals in religious seasons for hundreds of years, before the establishment of the modern state in Bahrain and the arrival of the ruling family. "This led the local legislator to dedicate articles to protect this right in explicit texts, alternately in the 1973 Constitution and others. However, the authorities deliberately used this right as a tool of political revenge against the Shiites in Bahrain."
Protest rallies in Bahrain have continued on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising started in the kingdom in 2011. The protesters are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured in a harsh crackdown which is backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.