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  Updated: March 18, 2011

Worldwide Muslims stand behind Bahrain protesters

By: Ismail Zabeeh

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Against a violent crackdown by the Bahraini ruling dynasty, Shiites from Iran to Saudi Arabia and through Iraq in the Middle East rallied behind Shiite protesters in Bahrain.

The assault on protesters prompted Iraqi cleric Moqtada as-Sadr to call for protests in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra Wednesday and nationwide demonstrations Friday, "in support of the people of Bahrain," his office said.

Only hours after the call, some 2,000 Sadr supporters staged a demonstration in central Basra, carrying Iraqi flags, portraits of Sadr and banners condemning the bloodshed in Bahrain.

"Stop shedding the blood of Bahrainis and Arabs," read one banner. "We demand a stop to Arab and foreign intervention in Bahrain," proclaimed another.

SadredDeen al-Qubbanchi, another Shiite cleric in Najaf, said that the protests in Bahrain were not simply a Shiite uprising but a "popular movement," and condemned the military intervention there.

"It is an intervention to protect a weak political regime, instead of helping the people," he said.

Iran, which sees itself as the beacon of Islam and champion of the world's estimated 100 million Shiite Muslims, condemned the "mobilisation against the population in Bahrain," calling it "heinous, unjustifiable and incomprehensible."

"How can those who use weapons against their people want to govern them?" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, quoted by the state news agency.

Iran has been especially rattled by the military intervention in Bahrain by troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In Pakistan, Shiite Spiritual leader Agha Hamid al-Mausavi has said that America keeps double standards. She is asking to make No-fly zones in Libya and to remove Qaddafi while does not consider infiltration of Saudi Arabian and UAE forces into Bahrain as aggression. He said the agent Arab League of international colonial powers has asked to turn Libya into No-fly zone while this organisation became blind in case of Bahrain. He said there is a saying of the Masoom (A.S.) that goes: A person, who sees morning without doing anything for the affairs of Muslims, is not a Muslim.

In Kuwait, where Shiites make up around 30 percent of the 1.15 million citizens, Shiite MPs strongly slammed the Gulf Cooperation Council for sending troops to crush the protests.

Shiite MP Saleh Ashur warned he would question the prime minister in parliament if Kuwaiti troops also were dispatched to help the Manama rulers.

Sunni MPs, however, praised the move and called on the Kuwaiti government to rush forces.

On Wednesday, about a dozen Shiite women gathered outside the Bahraini embassy in Kuwait City in protest at the crackdown.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, meanwhile, said the military intervention in Bahrain would hamper peaceful solutions.

"Military intervention and the use of force against a peaceful popular movement will not lead to a solution and will complicate matters while hampering chances of finding a solution," the party said in a statement.

Hezbollah said it was concerned about attacks against protesters and questioned Washington's role in the latest developments. 


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