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HomeGeopolitical CompassArabian PeninsulaFatwas and Politics in Bahrain: Exploring the Post 2011 Context

Fatwas and Politics in Bahrain: Exploring the Post 2011 Context

Authors: Rashed Alrasheed, Simon Mabon

Affiliation: Lancaster University/ UK

Organization/Publisher: Middle Eastern Studies Journal

Date/Place: November 17, 2020/ UK

Type of Literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 16


Keywords: Sectarianism, Fatwas, Arab Uprisings, sovereignty, Bahrain, Middle East.


The political chaos led by sectarianism in the Middle East has emerged post-Iranian revolution in 1979. Iran exerted its revolution towards the West, which was perceived by King Abdullah of Jordan as establishment of a ‘Shia Crescent’. The post Arab Spring scenario has excavated the sectarian fault lines in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The struggle between different sectarian groups to establish respective political spheres of influence has caused mass human casualties. This study divides the age of sectarianism in the region into three camps: primordialists, instrumentalists, and ‘third ways’. Primordialists seek to reduce the sect base division, whereas instrumentalists believe that sectarianism is a consequence of modernization and a tool to escalate in power politics. The ‘third ways’ believe that different political entities exploit communal or sectarian differences to stabilize their positions in power corridors. The role of clerics has been seen in both ways, i.e. exaggerating the sectarian conflict and to neutralize the hostile environment. This study analyzes the political environment of Bahrain and the influence of clerics over masses. The article concludes that Salafist cleric Adel al-Maaouda and Shia cleric Issa Qassem initiated efforts to normalize the conflictual environment in Bahrain and compelled the masses to participate in the electoral process. 

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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