Sheikh Issa: Reform or revolution for Bahrain’s rulers

Bahrain’s most senior Shi’ite leader has warned the ruling Royal Family that they will be removed from power if they do not start the process of democratic reform.

Sheikh Issa Qassem, speaking in his Friday sermon, said, “Can’t they learn from the fall of dictatorships and see what happens to those who denied their people basic rights? We now see what happens to the Libyan dictator, just as what happened to Tunisian and Egyptian despots.”

“There is no exit to the crisis except through political reform, to run away from this fact will not solve anything and to delay reforms will only deepen the crisis.” Sheikh Issa Qassem

His speech comes just a few days after receiving a letter from Bahrain’s Justice Minister, in which he was warned to ‘tone down his speeches’.

Sheikh Issa is a well known endorser of peaceful protest and many of his speeches have encouraged opposition protestors to remain moderate in their chanting and actions.

However, today’s speech is a show of defiance against a government that wants to silence all opposition. Sheikh Issa carried on that it his religious duty to support the demands of the opposition and for greater rights for the Shi’ite majority.

After his sermon a low flying police helicopter hovered over the crowds coming from the mosque, whilst they chanted slogans and unfurled banners.

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