This report highlights improvements and notes areas of concern regarding religious freedom in Bahrain in 2019. While Bahrain continues to allow freedom of worship to most religious groups, Shi’a Bahrainis face systematic and ongoing discrimination on the basis of their religious identity. In April, the government stripped citizenship from 138 Bahrainis following a mass trial, though it restored 551 citizenships following international pressure. It also summoned Shi’a religious leaders ahead of the Ashura holiday and questioned them over the content of their sermons. Throughout the summer and fall of 2019, Bahrain denied Shi’a prisoners access to religious texts and limited the time available to conduct Ashura rituals, though it granted more time following an intervention from the National Institute of Human Rights.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new reports on Bahrain and Iraq.