Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim is Bahrain's leading Shia cleric and a politician has great power and very strong influence with the opposition. He is the spiritual leader of Al Wefaq, Bahrain's biggest opposition society.
Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim was born in village Aldraz of Bahrain in 1938. Isa Qassim received his primary education in Badie primary school in the village of his birth (Aldraz).
After finishing primary school and with his brother's aid he moved to Manama's secondary school in Bahrain's capital.
After graduating, Sheikh Qassim worked as a teacher in elementary school in the early 60's where he remained until 1962.
He completed his Islamic education in Najaf and Qom Seminary between 1964 - 2001.
Ayatollah Isa Qassim has been leading Imam of Friday Prayers in in Duraz mosque of Bahrain since his return to Bahrain in 2001.
Sheikh Qassim is the most senior Shia cleric in the Gulf state. Bahrain has a majority Shia population but the ruling royal family is Sunni Muslim.
Shia have long complained of discrimination and formed the largest group when thousands of pro-democracy protesters took over a prominent roundabout in the capital Manama in February 2011.
The protesters were cleared from the roundabout with force and in the ensuing unrest more than 50 people died, hundreds were jailed and thousands lost their jobs. Virtually all of those affected were Shia Bahrainis.
Ayatollah Isa Qassim was interested in theological studies. He went to seminary in Najaf to study Islamic Sciences in 1964, where he studied under many Marja's including Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr.
Education in Najaf
He also continued his education in University of jurisprudence in Najaf.
He remained in Al-Najaf for 4 years then returned to Bahrain where he worked as a teacher in Al-Khamis intermediate school for 2 years before returning to Al-Najaf.
Completing studies in Qom
At the beginning of the 1990s, Sheikh Qassem traveled to Qom seminary in the early 1990s to the end of religious education.
He took this course with "Ayatollah Fazel lankarani", "Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi" and "Ayatollah Sayed Kazem Haeri" as his teachers. He also took some courses with "Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Khansari".
He lived in Qom until 2001 and returned to Bahrain on March 8, 2001.
Islamic Enlightenment Society is the a branch of the Iraqi al-Da'wa Party, which was established by Isa Qassim, Sheikh Suleiman and Sheik Abdul Ameer Almjmry civil in 1972.
it is administered under the supervision of Bahrain Shia Ulema Council and its cultural and political aspects of the pale.
It is administered under the supervision of Bahrain Shia Ulema Council and its activities in the cultural and political dimension that has faded.
In 1973 Qassim was elected a member of Bahrain's parliament, the National Assembly of Bahrain, until the parliament was dissolved in August 1975. He gained 1079 votes making him the biggest winner in the fifteen constituency.
Al-Wefaq Society is Bahrain's largest opposition political society.
Established in 2001, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society is a Bahraini political party with close ties to the country's Islamic Scholars Council, a Shiite clerical body. The party supports increased power for the Bahraini parliament, along with general political reform within the government, including redrawing electoral constituencies, reallocating the budget to favor service ministries, and consolidating public freedoms. Al-Wefaq is socially conservative and contends that only religious authorities have the right to legislate on family law issues. While al-Wefaq supports women parliamentarians, it insists that they be well-educated and popular among constituents. The party’s foreign policy welcomes increased US democracy promotion efforts in Bahrain. Al-Wefaq draws its base from Bahrain's long-disenfranchised Shia majority (the government is led by a Sunni royal family). In 2006 the party won a plurality of seats in the Bahraini Chamber of Deputies. Politically led by Sheikh Ali Salman, the party's spiritual leader is Sheikh Eisa Qasim.
The Bahraini revolution began in mid-February 2011, when the people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.
Since the uprisings of Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Bahrain has witnessed its wave of revolutionary mass protests demanding constitutional changes, greater freedom and equality of the marginalized majority Shia population, and political freedom and equality for the population as a whole.
The revolution, labeled the “14 February uprising” provoked a strong reaction from the security forces and the military, who promptly crushed the popular pro-democracy movement, declared a state of “National Safety” (Martial Law) and hailed the intervention of GCC security and military forces under the cover.
Bahrain’s relentless repression of anti-regime protesters
The Bahraini government launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states. Dozens of people were killed in the crackdown, and the security forces arrested hundreds.
Dozens of mosques have been demolished in Bahrain since the start of anti-monarchy rallies in 2011. Almost daily protests are held against the Al Khalifa regime, calling for the royal family to leave power.
Amnesty International censured Bahrain’s relentless repression of anti-regime protesters.
Peninsula Shield Force
In this perspective, the arrest of prominent leaders represents a move by Bahraini authorities to tighten the noose on political opposition, and silence anyone seen to be critical of the authorities. These political prisoners comprise of opposition leaders, rights activists, bloggers and clerics who have been arrested between 17 March and 9 April 2011, in connection with their role in the uprising and are referred by the media as the “group of thirteen”.
Prominent leaders of Bahrain Revolution
Leading figure of the major opponent party, Al Wefaq; ex-MP of the Council of Representatives.
Founding member of Al Wefaq; secretary-general of Haq Movement for Liberty and Democracy; founding leader of the “Alliance for the Republic”, a movement to oust the king.
Abdul Al-Jalil Al-Singace
Ex-member of the board of directors of Al-Wefaq, head of human rights bureau of Haq movement.
Prominent activist chairing the presidency of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, an organization banned by Bahrain’s government since 2004; member of the Advisory Committee of the Middle East Division of Human Rights Watch; member of the Advisory Board of the Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organization; president of Gulf Center for Human Rights, Considered the unofficial leader of the 14 February movement.
Sheikh Ali Salman
He is the Secretary-General of the Al-Wefaq political society in Bahrain and a Twelver Shi'a cleric educated in Qom. In January 1995 the Bahraini government forcibly exiled him to Dubai for leading a popular campaign demanding the reinstatement of the constitution and the restoration of parliament during the 1990s Uprising. From there he made his way to London and sought asylum. He continued opposition activities from London, where he was associated with the Bahrain Freedom Movement. Salman returned to Bahrain in March 2001 in a general amnesty as part of a set of political reforms announced by King Hamad.
Isa Qassim's protest the choice of Bahrain as the headquarters of Arab human rights court:
Distinguished Bahraini cleric and scholar Ayatollah Isa Qassim has blasted the choice of Bahrain as the headquarters of Arab human rights court, describing the Bahraini state under the Al Khalifa Dynasty as “human rights graveyard.”
The remarks by the prominent Bahraini cleric came during Friday prayer sermons in the al-Deraz region, where he added, “We love our country and with for its development, but when the ruling Al Khalifa regime violates people’s rights, its legal system issues oppressive rulings for detainees and the regime’s mercenaries kill the young and old, the selection of Bahrain as the headquarters of the Arab human rights court is an inhumane act that amounts to a cover-up of the regime’s offenses and crimes.”
Sheikh Qassim further asked, “Isn’t the selection of Bahrain as the headquarters of the Arab human rights court a cover for the regime’s offenses and crimes? Can the Bahraini regime, which is the graveyard of human rights, serve as the flag-bearer of justice and human rights?”
Bahrain’s Shia Leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim described Shia killing in Egypt’s Giza province as an example of humiliating the entire humanity.
In his Friday prayer sermon at Imam Sadeq (AS) Mosque in Manama’s Diraz district, Ayatollah Qassim also said the massacre was a heinous one and a testament to the ignorance of its perpetrators.
On Sunday, June 23, 2013, extremist Takfiri mobs attacked a house in a village in Giza province of Egypt and killed four Shia Muslims in the house including Allameh Sheikh Hassan Shehata, spiritual leader of Shia Muslims in the country.
Ayatollah Qassim urged all Muslims to stand up against these seditious acts and against those who consider their fellow Muslims as infidels.
“There are some ignorant people who have a wrong understanding of Islam and Islamic schools and try to exploit divisive issues to deal a blow to the Muslim Ummah’s unity,” he said.
Ayatollah Qassim also said that not only from a religious point of view but also from a political one it is unacceptable for the Egyptian government to simply ignore this gruesome crime.
From a sermon on June 7, 2002:
[Khomeini is] one of the heroes of Islam and Islamic unity…and when we speak of Islamic unity we have to salute Khomeini’s jihad and dedication to the cause—to salute his establishment of Islamic unity week and his passion for the issues of the Islamic ummah with Palestine at the forefront of his attention. He will remain a champion fighting for the oppressed across the world.
June 4, 2004:
The day of the departure of Imam Khomeini was a catastrophic day that this nation had to live through. He was a Quranic leader, a mujahid in the name of God, stubborn on the path of truth, a seeker of the afterlife, a teacher of the nation putting generations on the track of struggle, and establishing a school of guidance…
June 8, 2007:
A man of mercy, a revolution of mercy, a state of mercy that is not exclusive to this nation but for the people at large. The man is Imam Khomeini, the revolution is his, and the state is his, and the secret lies in the mercy of his Islam, the Islamic revolution, and the Islamic state…If all Islamists, regardless of their sects, gathered around this man, this revolution, this state and the peoples of this nation followed them, Islam would have been on a fast track to total victory.
June 12, 2009:
…and his revolution, his victory, his state created many revolutionaries on the path of God…you rightfully and honestly say that Khomeini’s revolution, his victory, and his state created a new widespread jihadist line that transcended the borders of the revolutionary country…
June 6, 2003:
[The Iranian Revolution is] the call that never dies and will not die. It is not right for the nation to weaken and waver in its support for it and without pledging its full alliance in thought, sentiment, and practice, and refusing to submit to the arrogant American administration.
February 13, 2004:
A few words on the occasion of the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran:
A revolution that was ignited by one of the heroes of faith, knowledge and determination; a lover of the lovers of Mohammed’s lineage and his blessed sons, peace be upon them.
[The Iranian Revolution is] a blessed revolution that toppled one of the Islamic world’s despots–the despot most supportive of the Great Devil, the United States, as the great Imam al-Khomeini named it.
A revolution that made America kneel in Iran, and cut the hand that tried to defile Islam and its values in that country and stopped it from looting and plundering the wealth of the good Muslim Iranian people in such a provocative manner.
February 8, 2008:
The revolution happened in Iran setting in place an Islamic Republic, so they gathered against it in animosity. The East, the West, and their agents in the Islamic world. They belittled it, and belittled those who are in charge of it…If you look within the Islamic nation for a political system that is not connected to the West, to the axis of evil, and does not prostrate before either West or East, you will only find one political system: [Iran]
June 26, 2009:
The western reaction to [the Iranian elections] in such an exaggerated manner ignites strife, perpetuates struggle, and creates a division in an otherwise peaceful country. Hatred here is a hatred toward Islam, and the Islamic mode of governance and the effectiveness of that mode in solidifying the nation and its dignity, ensuring its progress and superiority, and preserving its interests and independence. Behind that hatred is a fear of a wider reversion to Islam and what that means in terms of turning over the scales of powers on Earth and changing the equation to the benefit of the Islamic nation and those who are oppressed…
A special ceremony held in Tehran to honor Bahrain’s Shia leader Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassem in April 23, 2014.
The event titled “Messiah of Bahrain” is aimed at promoting the thoughts and ideas of Sheikh Isa Qassim behind the revolution of Bahrain.