Bahrain is a small Gulf monarchy in the Persian Gulf with a population of an estimated 1,5 million. While figures are disputed and the last census including sectarian identification was conducted in 1941, it is estimated that between 65-75% of the population are Shii Muslims. However, the country is ruled by the Khalifa family who are Sunni Muslims. Overall, despite the Shii majority population the country’s political and economic elite is dominated by Sunni Muslims. Shii Muslims also face discrimination and restrictions of their religious activities. In the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011, an uprising also began in Bahrain demanding democratic reforms and equal rights for all citizens of Bahrain, regardless of their sectarian affiliation. The uprising was violently suppressed, political activities of Shii activists severely curbed and key figures from Bahrain’s Shii community arrested or exiled. During the violent crackdown many protesters were killed, and many who were arrested were also killed in prison.

The photos below illustrate how Shii Muslims in Bahrain mark their presence in a public sphere hostile to them and how they use religious language and symbolism as means to articulate political dissent to the ruling dynasty in Bahrain.


Page Manager: oliver.scharbrodtctr.luse | 2024-03-20