Mehr News Agency – Al Saud and Al Khalifa regimes are trying to abuse the Hajj Pilgrimage and the Formula One motor race to their own benefit.
Amnesty International has recently announced that Bahrain regime is using Formula One motor race to present a good picture of itself; However, Bahrain has an extremely oppressive regime and any citizen could be arrested after posting a tweet in criticism of the government. It’s better for Bahrain to improve the freedom of speech in the country instead of putting on a show and using sports to conceal the violation of human rights in the country.
Earlier, activists in the UK had condemned Bahraini regime of exploiting the new round of Formula One competitions to cover up the violation of human rights in the country. They gathered outside the Formula One headquarters in London to express their protest against the organization for being an accomplice to Bahrain regime.
The activists announced that during these competitions, the world will not see the real image of Bahrain where people are suppressed, arrested and stripped of their rights for running peaceful protests.
Bahrain people can be arrested for only posting a comment on social media; for example, the activist, Najah Ahmed Yusuf, who protested against the Bahrain Formula One competitions, Grand Prix 2017, on Facebook was jailed for three years by the country’s authorities.
Before that, UN Watch, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) and other similar humanitarian organizations had sent letters for Formula One chiefs, saying the competitions are running despite the gross human rights violation in Bahrain.
Protests against running Formula One competitions in Bahrain has reached a point that a new nickname has been invented for the competitions: the Formula of Blood. The Censorship in Bahrain, however, is very strict and the country’s local news are not reflected in the international media, so with watching these competitions many people around the world would assume that there is no sign of protest, turmoil and oppression in this country and people are in perfect peace and security.
Al Khalifa regime has a long history in the repression of protests and is constantly trying to divert the attention of the world away from the Bahrain internal unrest by accusing other countries, especially Iran, of violating the human rights.
Running competitions such as Formula One that are international events and receive massive media coverage is just another tool for Bahrain regime to fake a good image. In the same time, political prisoners in Bahrain, especially women are in terrible conditions; they are usually arrested without their charges being explained to them and their courts are held out of the reach of video cameras.
Al Saud manipulating Hajj pilgrimage
Al Khalifa regime is not the only regime that is taking advantage of international events. Hajj pilgrimage is indeed a chance for Muslims all around the world to demonstrate their solidarity, but Al Saud family is trying to use it as an opportunity to derive their own political benefits.
In fact, Saudi Arabia gains billions of dollars each year from Hajj pilgrimage as it is an unparalleled international convention; however, the problem is Saudi Arabia leaders are using this event as a leverage to put pressure on countries whose ideas and policies are different from Al Saud regime. Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Qatar are the examples of some countries whose policies have dissatisfied the Al Saud regime so it is now trying to put obstacles on the way of these countries in sending their pilgrims to Hajj.
Recently, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar announced that Saudi Arabia’s policies are aimed at using Hajj pilgrimage for their political ends, even though it is a religious event; in this regard, Qataris have been deprived of their right to go on this pilgrimage due to political tensions.
Mohammed Abdul Sattar, the current Ministry of Awqaf of Syria has also announced that the Saudi officials are inhibiting the Syrians from doing their religious duty by preventing them from going on Hajj pilgrimage. To this moment, Saudi Arabia has not granted any permits to Syrians for making the Hajj journey.
Evidently, Saudi Arabia is trying to politicalize the Hajj pilgrimage and has reduced the Muslims’ participation in doing their religious duty, in the same time, in August, the media released that Saudis are giving out Hajj visas to Christian activists in Lebanon, a move that was greeted with public ridicule in the international arena.
To make the matters worth, Al Haramain Watch, headquartered in Malaysia, has recently reported massive financial corruption in Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umra. The Al Haramain Watch announced that the Ministry has abused many people and organizations, both in terms of extorting money from them and dictating their policies.
Experts have been discussing the mismanagement of Hajj pilgrimage by Saudi officials for a long time. The Saudi’s mismanagement hit the roof in 2015 when the incident in Mina killed over 2,000 pilgrims. After the incident, not only the Saudi officials refrained from giving an apology, they also tried to excuse themselves from any responsibility and kept bullying other countries with using Hajj pilgrimage as a leverage to put pressure on them.
It seems that Saudi Arabia is trying to run the US and Zionists plot to undermine the Hajj pilgrimage as an international event by reducing the pilgrims coming from a variety of independent countries in the region. Evidently, both Bahraini and Saudi officials know how to manipulate situations to their own benefit.
Obviously, there is no problem in running Formula One motor race competitions but the problem arises when the competitions are used to whitewash the oppression of Bahraini people who can go to jail for merely putting a post on social media.
Instead of using the Hajj pilgrimage as a chance to promote Muslims’ solidarity and unity against the Zionist enemy, Saudi Arabia is trying to diminish the number of pilgrims coming from independent countries by making up excuses that are actually rooted in its own political and financial benefits; something that unfortunately will lead to nothing but scission among Muslims and will empower the Zionists in their stand against Muslims.
Reported by: Fatemeh Salehi