x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Shiite bloc stands by majority rule for Bahrain

Al Wefaq's representatives walk out of meeting after Sunni representative calls Shiites 'naturalised rejectors' of Islamic orthodoxy, in reference to Iranian origin of some members of community to which majority of Bahrainis belong.

Bahrain's main Shiite opposition bloc said a government led by the parliamentary majority would be the only way towards reconciliation after a dispute during the National Dialogue.

"The solution to the political crisis is through the acceptance of [its] demands," and "any other option would only deepen the crisis", Al Wefaq said in a statement on Tuesday.

Since the start of the National Dialogue on July 2, which is aimed at forwarding political reforms after Shiite-led protests were crushed in a crackdown in March, Al Wefaq has called for a government led by the parliamentary majority.

The group won 18 of 40 seats in the most recent parliamentary elections, but its MPs resigned in protest against violence used on demonstrators.

On Tuesday, a Sunni representative in one of the dialogue sessions called Shiites "naturalised rejectors [of Islamic orthodoxy]", in reference to the Iranian origin of some members of the community to which a majority of Bahrainis belong, Al Wasat newspaper reported.

In reaction, Al Wefaq's representatives walked out of the meeting, which was dealing with reforming naturalisation laws.

Many Shiites accuse the kingdom's Sunni rulers of naturalising Sunnis in a bid to change Bahraini demographics.