Three jailed in Bahrain for violating foundations of Islam
March 31, 2023 09:38 AM
Three self-styled religious reformers were jailed for a year in Bahrain on Thursday after being found guilty of violating the foundations of Islam, in a case that was condemned by rights campaigners and exposed divisions in the Gulf state's Shiite community.
The three, members of the Tajdeed ("Renewal") cultural society that advocates open discussion of religion, were sentenced by a criminal court for "violating the foundations of the Islamic faith and its origins and insulting the prophets", a public prosecution statement said.
The defendants -- Jalal al-Qassab, Redha Rajab, and Mohammed Rajab -- were tried over blogs and a YouTube series "about the lives of the messengers and prophets, which included a denial of what was mentioned in the Holy Quran regarding them and a mockery of what was mentioned", the statement added.
The public prosecution had requested a maximum two years' jail.
The group's work had drawn an angry response from some Shiite clerics in Sunni-ruled Bahrain who said it was blasphemy and an attack on Islam.
Earlier this month, Tajdeed complained of "hate speech and incitement" at mosques and on social media targeting its members and their families.
Denouncing the court case, which followed submissions from the Ministry of Social Development and the Anti-Cybercrime Department, as "malicious", the group said it was merely "exercising its natural and legal right to conduct research, engage in analysis, study, and enlighten".