Bahrain: Aal-e Khalifah regime bans pilgrimage to Iraq & Syria
In yet another indication of entrenched hostilities against Shia Muslims in Bahrain, the Aal-e Khalifah regime has banned the pilgrimage to the holy cities in Iraq and Syria.
According to reports, the Bahraini Shia Muslims, who are already banned from visiting the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) and other religious places in Iran, can no longer travel to Iraq and Syria neither by land nor by air.
“Over the past weeks, after pilgrims returned from Iraq and Syria, they were questioned about the reasons for their trip, and the Shias were put under a lot of pressure. But now the government of Bahrain has entirely banned pilgrimage to Syria and Iraq, and no Bahraini pilgrims has the opportunity to visit the holy shrines in Iraq and Syria,” Fars News Agency said saturday.
According to reports, a group of Iraqi Shia Muslims gathered in protest against the Aal-e Khalifah regime’s decision and demanded the lifting of restrictions for Bahrains.
More than 100,000 Bahrainis visit Iraq's holy shrines every year, apart from those in Arbaeen.
The regime has long been criticized by global rights groups for its abysmal human rights record, and brutal suppression and killing of pro-democracy activists.
The country has seen regular peaceful demonstrations since the popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.