The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights: The Jaafari Endowments Directorate encroach on religious freedoms by exploiting the Coronavirus crisis under government guidance
The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) said that the statement issued by the Jaafari Endowments Directorate in Bahrain on preventing the use of loudspeakers in places of worship such as mosques, ma’tams, Hussainiyas and other religious events under the pretext of abiding by the necessary precautionary directives for facing the Coronavirus pandemic constitutes an infringement on the freedom to practice and commemorate religious rites. The BFHR considered that "This decision is under the clear direction of the government represented by the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments and it has dangerous goals that remind us of the authorities’ desire to violate the independence of the religious affairs of citizens in Bahrain." The BFHR added that there is no relationship between the steps and precautionary mechanisms to combat the pandemic and preventing the use of loudspeakers in religious events, because it is certain that the pandemic cannot be spread through sound!
"Although international laws grant religious sects the right to administer their endowments by themselves according to their convictions and religious principles, the Bahraini authorities confiscate this right. Therefore, the Jaafari Endowments Directorate has not had complete administrative, organizational, or financial independence since its founding in 1928, which explains the suspicious move regarding banning loudspeakers in places of worship," the statement added.
"Despite the Jaafari Endowments Directorate’s claim that it is an independent administration, the Jaafari Endowments Board of Directors is appointed by a single government decision, as the president and ten members are appointed by a royal decree, and the appointed council is linked to the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the BFHR explained. “Thus, the appointment is made away from the religious scholars, elders and notables of the Jaafari community and their directives and guidance. The appointment is also made by a single will that transcends the will and choice of hundreds of endowment bodies that the Jaafari Endowments Directorate should supervise their endowment assets and develop and preserve them from damage and losses,” the BFHR further said.
"What the Jaafari Endowments Directorate described as ‘it was decided after coordination with the President of the Supreme Council of Health and the Minister of Justice,’ is a warning sign of the steps towards which the authorities are moving by exploiting the pandemic to criminalize and restrict freedoms under the pretext of ‘pressing necessity’ and ‘facing the Coronavirus pandemic,” the BFHR concluded.
The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights