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  1. Hundreds in Dearborn mark anniversary of protests in Bahrain

    1:47 PM, February 19, 2012

    By Niraj Warikoo

    Marking the first year anniversary of the protests in Bahrain, about 500 gathered in a Dearborn mosque Friday night to call for freedom and democracy in the Gulf country.

    “What’s happening in Bahrain is a crime,” said Imam Husham Al-Husainy, head of the Karbalaa Islamic Education Center, where the event was held. “The world is not recognizing what is going on.”

    Inspired by uprisings in other Arab countries, protests started in Bahrain on Feb. 14 last year, primarily by its Shia-majority population. The country’s Sunni rulers have squashed down on protests with help from security forces from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The protesters are asking for democracy, no religious discrimination, and freedom of expression in a country of 1.2 million people currently ruled by a monarchy.

    The crowd in Dearborn consisted of Bahraini-Americans and supporters in the local Iraqi Shia community. Posters of people killed by security forces in Bahrain were on the walls of the mosque as speakers criticized the government of Bahrain.

    Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, the biggest mosque in Michigan, was at the event to show his support. In his talk, he compared the rulers of Bahrain to Saddam Hussein, the late ruler of Iraq who often mistreated Iraqi Shias. After Saddam Hussein’s downfall, some of his security forces went to Bahrain to work in security and are helping in the crackdown, said speakers at the event.

    Qazwini is a native of Iraq who is Shia and the Karbalaa center is an Iraqi Shia mosque.

    The U.S. government has criticized at times Bahrain’s actions against protesters, but considers Bahrain’s King Hamad as an ally. The U.S. military has a naval base in Bahrain. The government of Saudi Arabia also supports Bahrain’s government.

    Local Bahrainis want the U.S. to support the democratic aspirations of people inside their native country.

    “During the past year, there has been brutality and aggression against peaceful protesters asking for their rights,” said Dr. Osama Alaradi, of Canton, a native of Bahrain.

    Bahrain has set up a commission to deal with the concerns of protesters, but Alaradi said “the government is not trying to solve the problem.”
    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have criticized the government for its crackdown. Last month, the U.S. State Department said it “is deeply concerned by continuing incidents of violence in Bahrain between police and demonstrators. Some US Embassy officials have met with human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who was injured during a demonstration in Bahrain last month.

    Dr. Yathrab Al-Aali, a Bahraini-American from Dearborn, says the U.S. is not supporting the democratic movement in Bahrain as it is in countries like Syria and Libya.

    “We are just demanding our rights,” she said while attending the event at the Karbalaa center. “There are a lot of casualties and injuries…the people of the world are not paying attention.”

    Dr. Raja Hasan, of Grand Rapids, was in Bahrain when the protests started. She remembers getting text messages saying that protesters were getting attacked and filling up hospitals. But in some cases, doctors were prevented from treating the victims, she said.

    The event at Karbalaa featured talks by Shia clergy as well as an Iraqi Christian pastor with a Lutheran church in Dearborn.
    “If you suffer, I suffer,” said Fr. Hanaa Sullaka of Dearborn . “We are brothers.”

    In his talk, Imam Al-Husainy criticized what he saw as “the hypocrisy of foreign policy” towards Bahrain. “How come they are ignoring what is going on?”

    Al-Husainy said of Bahrain’s ruler: “Don’t think you are God of Bahrain…Where is your humanity?”

    Al-Husainy, the head of the Karbalaa center, then read a poem comparing Bahrain’s King Hamad to Saddam Hussein, noting that his regime was eventually toppled.

    A spokesman for Bahrain could not be reached, but the country’s Twitter feed often calls protesters “thugs” and “rioters” who are disturbing the peace in Bahrain.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20120219/NEWS02/120219007/Dearborn-Bahrain-protests?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

  2. Pingback: Bahrain state terrorism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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