Type: Civil society
Al Wefaq was the National Islamic Society of Bahrain and the largest political society in the country. They were a pro-democracy movement that was closed by the Bahraini government in June 2016.
Though they were closed on charges of supporting sectarianism and terrorism, they have consistently condemned terrorist attacks and expressed hopes for peace globally.[i] Given their influence in Bahrain, particularly among youths their encouragement of peaceful protest and dissent is likely to have stemmed some political violence and curbed radicalisation.
Their dissolution however may not.
They acted in a similar fashion to the Islamic Scholars Council, who too were prominent among the Shiite population who looked to the scholars for guidance. In January 2014 the Administrative Court ordered the Council to dissolve. Despite that many felt this was an attack on their religious freedom, the Council still stressed ‘the need to reject violence, extremism and terrorism’.[ii]
[i] See for example, Al Wefaq, ‘Al Wefaq in Bahrain Condemns Terror Blast in Baghdad’, March 29 2016, http://alwefaq.net/cmsen/2016/03/29/45258/; Al Wefaq, ‘Al Wefaq Condemns the Istanbul Terror Attack’, March 20 2016, http://alwefaq.net/cmsen/2016/03/20/45246/; or Al Wefaq, ‘Al Wefaq Condemns the Terrorist Attacks on Pakistan University’, January 21 2016, http://alwefaq.net/cmsen/2016/01/21/45156/.
[ii] Al Monitor, ‘Bahraini court dissolves Islamic Scholars Council’, Jan 30 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/01/bahrain-court-decision-resolve-islamic-council.html
This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.
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