SALAM Addresses UNESCO and UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom Regarding the Purposeful Destruction of Religious and Historical Site of Sa’sa’a Bin Suhan in Bahrain
Sayed Abbas Sayed Shubar, Head of Religious Freedoms Unit in Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights, announced that the organisation has addressed the World Heritage Organisation UNESCO and the UN Special Rapporteur on Religion or Belief, Mr Heiner Beilefelt, regarding the issue of the vandalism and repeated attacks on the site of Sa’sa’a Bin Suhan. Since 2003, the site has been a target for vandalism and attempts by attackers to exhume the grave, with defamatory slogans sprayed on the site walls.
The site is known as an ancient historical mosque in Bahrain, with historical and cultural qualities, with inscriptions on the site which is subject to examinations by a French delegation. The grave itself reportedly dates back to the eighth century.
Shubar further reports that attacks on such a historical site is part of a purposeful agenda to vandalise mosques affiliated with the Shia sect in Bahrain, which has so far lead to more than 35 complete destructions of mosques with many others being vandalised. The Independent Bahrain Commission Inquiry (BICI) confirmed this in 23 November 2011, stating that repeated attempts of vandalism have occurred on Shia mosques, religious centres, and memorials between the 1 March to 11 May 2011 (cited under paragraph 1308). The report further states, under paragraph 1315, the dates that which the destruction of 35 mosques occurred; confirming under paragraph 1318 that official authorities played a role in such aggressions, and elaborated in paragraph 1320 of the way in which destruction was carried out and the equipments used. The report also clarified in paragraph 1321 of the persons that carried out the demolitions.
Video footage uploaded on YouTube has shown the continuous attacks on the site of the mosque of Su’su’a, with over 3350 views in the first 24 hours. The investigator, Jassim Aal-Abbas spoke regarding this issue that such a video footage was “filmed on the day the purported vandalisms were carried out”; adding that attacks like these are common on the site of Sa’sa’a with the latest attack happening on 22/9/2013, whereby the site remains abandoned by authorities in charge of maintaining it.
Finally, Shubar confirmed that there is a purposeful recklessness by the Bahraini authorities to allow vandalism to occur on sites affiliated with Shia muslims in Bahrain. With that, Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights urges the international community to exert a great deal of pressure on the Bahraini authorities to abide by internationally recognised agreements and declarations, to prevent further attempts of vandalism on any Shia-related sites, and maintain a competent level of protection for such historical sites and its likes.
Bahrain SALAM for Human Rights