Al Hassan Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: Bahrain’s Public Security has warned a zero-tolerance policy would be applied towards those who “misuse the religious occasion of Ashura to engage in criminal activity”.

Ashura is the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and the occasion is publicly commemorated by Shiites through emotional marches, rallies and speeches.

Ashura commemorations will peak on the tenth of Muharram (October 12), and Public Security chief Tariq Al Hassan said that the police were coordinating with those in charge of the rituals to prevent the exploitation of the occasion and to ensure the safety of all participants.

“The police are fully committed to carrying out their duties to maintain security, public order and people’s safety,” Al Hassan said. “Misusing the occasion to engage in criminal activity will not be allowed and those in charge of the commemoration events should make sure to keep the religious aspect of Ashura as the focus of the activities.”

Al Hassan added that the interior ministry respected all religious occasions, including Ashura, and has been providing all necessary security services.

“The police have already taken legal steps against a number of individuals who broke rules and regulations and dealt with them in accordance with the law,” he said.

Social media reported that the police had taken down flags, slogans and boards put up by people ahead of the commemoration of Ashura.

However, Al Hassan said the police were applying the law.

“Under the requirements of public order, there are designated places where slogans and posters can be put up. Everybody is aware of the specific locations. The police acted after some people broke the law and put the slogans, posters and cutouts up in non-designated places, which made them a hazard to traffic movement. Some of the slogans were political and some of the pictures and flags had nothing to do with Ashura, which constituted a violation of the traditions related to the religious occasion and an assault on public roads and private property, prompting the police to remove them,” he said.