Unlicensed Prayerنُشر أبريل 29, 2011
In what some considered as a legal action rather than a vengeful reaction, The government of Bahrain (GOB) started a campaign to demolish “Unlicensed” mosques, this was announced by the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of interior affairs, the last also pointed that the shiite ceremony won’t be “Protected” by the ministry, later that month police forces attacked many memorial marches that toke place in the annual anniversary of the death of the daughter of prophet Mohammed (PBUH) a day that witnessed such marches since before the ruling family toke power in Bahrain.
Most people saw that as a clear mark of the intention to punish people for voicing their demands, and to ensure that people will be too afraid to demand democracy again.
In this post I want to shed some light on some point that some failed to consider or found it more convenient to forget.
The licensing law:
There is a Licensing law for mosques and ma`tams in Bahrain, However the law that the government officials referring to is
the law was issued to organize buildings by the late Ameer Isa the son of Salman (the father of King Hamad) it lists the condition to gain a building permit.
Now to show some interesting points on the law itself:
- the laws is guided by the general principle of irretroactivity of law, which means that an act done before the issuing of law can’t be punished by the new law it is clearly mentioned, hence mosques built before the issue of that law can’t be considered illegal based on it.
- the law states that the violations will be reported to the concerned parties, and when the violations are not corrected they will be demolished by the ministry of municipalities after the end of the legal period.
- utilities (electricity, water, sewage lines) can’t be delivered before the license is issued.
we can see from the points mentioned in the same law before, that violations are not to be removed by armed forces, and that the demolition order should be delivered to the in charges before demolishing, and that if it was violating a law then utilities would not to exist in it.
the same minister who claimed that the country is going through a dangerous period and that people should unite is defending the act of demolishing mosques in that same period. He went on by explaining that Sunni mosques will be demolished as well, which made no sense to a lot of my friends and followers because demolishing a mosques in their opinion is wrong wither it was a Sunni mosque or a Shiite mosque, most of them don’t even know if there is any difference (So did I), and the timing of such actions only raises speculation about the intention of the government and how serious are they about reform.
Are the mosques unlicensed?
It doesn’t make that much difference in my opinion, because the timing makes this discussion less important, however after reviewing the demolished mosques a lot of people found that some mosques (18 till now) are licensed and register in the Jaffary Waqf Directorate which was the official authority in charge of registering these mosques, the government also went to the extend of suspending the domain of the Jaffary Waqf official government website (april 29th http://www.jwd.gov.bh/) which showed licenses for demolished mosques, and by referring to the first point a lot of the demolished mosques precede the law of building licensing of 1977, some are actually old enough to be listed as historic buildings, and some are the resting place of known clerics.
this website shows the documents for a demolished mosque in Sitra
I will update this post if the Jaffary Waqf website reopen
going to my neighbor bakery to buy some bread two guys are arguing this same issue, the first asked why do you think they are doing this?, the second said he doesn’t know suddenly an old man said to them do you have a yacht? the guys said no, he then asked do you have a seaside villa the very surprised youths said no, he said then what do you expect them to demolish? you have nothing but mosques.