Internet activists have reported that Bahrain’s Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, has ordered the immediate transfer of Sunni cleric Dr Adel Hassan AlHamad from one of the grand mosques in Riffa to another mosque in Tubli.
Following the news, various campaigns started on Twitter in support of the cleric, attributing the transfer to his last Friday sermon in which he openly criticized the building of a new Roman Catholic Church in Awali, on a land donated by the monarch.
In the sermon, Dr AlHamad described the land donation and allowing the church to be built as “pro-Christian” and “an attempt to please Western nations”.
He urged worshippers to express their opposition, reminding them that they have previously drawn a “red line when it came to the leadership of this country” (in reference to their stand against the events of 2011) while the “rightful religion of Allah is far more superior and worthy of their support.”
He also warned that “silence in such matters could drag divine consequences” (Hear the full Audio – Arabic).
Dr AlHamad was one of 68 Sunni clerics who issued and signed a public statement [screenshot of newspaper article which carried the statement below] against the construction of the church and Bahrain becoming the headquarters of The Roman Catholic Church’s Vicariate.
The statement appeals to “those who are responsible for order on this land to pull back the grant and the permission, for the best benefit of the people.” AlHamad added:
Guarding this religion and its rituals and the rejection of polytheism and its manifestations are duties from God.
Responses to the news of Dr Alhamad's transfer on Twitter varied. Former MP Hamad AlMohanadi asks [ar]:
Tubli, where the new mosque Sheikh AlHamad will be transferred to, is considered an area mainly inhibited by Shia Muslims as opposed to the Sunni dominated Riffa. Jamal Ibrahim AlNajem tweets:
Former MP Mohammed Khalid also expresses his concerns about the transfer: