Leaders vow smooth Ashoora processions
Manama, December 3, 2011
Authorities and community leaders in Bahrain have teamed up to make sure that the two main days of the Ashoora religious festival pass smoothly later this week.
Religious processions have been taking place across Bahrain in recent days as part of the occasion.
Authorities said they have been working with the heads of ma'atams and religious scholars for months to ensure Monday and Tuesday's events run smoothly.
'We have been working with ma'atams two months before Ashoora to ensure everybody abides by the law and to avoid any sort of conflict on the ground,' said Capital Governorate deputy governor Ali Al Asfoor.
'Police security personnel and traffic police have also been working hard in co-ordination with all parties involved in leading these religious processions.'
Al Asfoor was speaking amid fears that anti-government protesters would try to hijack processions to serve a political agenda, as well as concerns that others might try to undermine the occasion by dancing and playing music.
The Interior Ministry has held a meeting with heads of ma'atams, governors and directors of police directorates to discuss the issue.
Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa instructed officials to take adequate security and traffic procedures that would best suit the religious nature of the events.
He also maintained that the current situation required additional care to protect the spirituality of the occasion and said police would be there to protect the people.
Shaikh Rashid praised ma'atam officials for their role in helping to reduce tension and refusing to allow the exploitation of religious places or the processions for political purposes.
He added they were obliged to fully co-ordinate with the police and report any violations or attempt to disrupt public order.
Meanwhile, a top Shi'ite religious scholar encouraged people to go out and perform their religious responsibilities, but warned families to be cautious and avoid confrontations.
'There has been speculation that some are trying to scare or provoke people and we can't guarantee what will happen,' said Mohsin Al Asfoor.
'But that shouldn't stop us from getting together and performing these processions, just as we have done for generations.
'Of course, there are segments of the society from both sides that don't want Bahrain to prosper and unite and they will probably use this religious occasion to follow through with their agendas.
'But police, processions leaders, ma'atam heads and everyone involved are working round the clock so that things go smoothly and according to plan.-TradeArabia News Service