BAHRAINI RIGHTS GROUP: SUNNI AUTHORITIES "IMPORT" LOYALISTS
The Bahraini Authorities, dominated by the Sunni minority, are importing Sunnis from around the Middle East and are granting them citizenship in an attempt to create an artificial Sunni majority in the country. The Bahraini human rights group Al-Haq made the claim to The Media Line (TML).
The Gulf kingdom has a population of 700,000 people, most of whom are Shi'ite Muslims. Nevertheless, Bahrain has been under the control of the Sunni Al Khalifa family for more than two centuries. During the past seven days, Shi'ite demonstrators have taken to the streets to seek compensation for what they said were human rights violations carried out between 1980 and 1990.
"The authorities are importing tens of thousands of Sunnis from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Pakistan, giving them passports in order to change the demography," Al-Haq Movement's Dr. 'Abd Al-Jalil Al-Singace, told The Media Line.
"They are giving them citizenship, employment and housing on the expense of the people's rights. This is all done in order to combat popular demands from the people, who are calling for true reforms," Al-Jalil explained.
According to Al-Haq, these new Sunni immigrants are given full voting rights, and changes are made in the final number of votes obtained by those loyal to the Sunni authorities.
During the recent week-long clashes between the Bahraini security forces and the Shi'ite demonstrators, police raided houses in search of weapons and suspects wanted for interrogation. Al-Jalil charged that during some of these raids, demonstrators said they had recognized an Iraqi accent among the officers who attacked the houses.
According to Al-Jalil, the Bahrain authorities are currently importing many Iraqis who were soldiers in the ousted Saddam regime.
"The kingdom's strategic objective is by 2010 to bring the Sunni population to the same level as the Shi'ites. The only way to do that is by importing about 50,000 Sunnis a year from all over the world. Iraq will contribute about 70,000 Sunnis all together," Al-Jalil estimated.
The Bahraini Information Ministry failed to comment on Al-Haq's claims.
By The Media Line Staff on Tuesday, December 25, 2007