|Opposition in Bahrain|
The organizational arm of the Shi'i opposition in Bahrain that is best known in the West is the Bahrain Freedom Movement. It is located in London and headed by Mansour al-Jamri, the son of Shi'i religious leaders Abd al-Amir al-Jamri whom the Bahraini regime jailed in early 1996 and whom it still holds. In Arabic the group's name is the Islamic Liberation Movement of Bahrain (harakat ahrar al-bahrayn al-'islamiyya). They publish a monthly newsletter in Arabic and English entitled "Voice of Bahrain" (the Arabic version is subtitled: "The voice of the Islamic movement in Bahrain"), and are very active in disseminating high-quality information via e-mail and the Internet. In neither its English nor its Arabic publications has the Bahrain Freedom Movement advocated the violent overthrow of the government or the establishment of an Islamic republic in Bahrain. Its constant stress is the restoration of the Bahraini constitution and the elected parliament. The Bahraini government recently escalated its campaign against the BFM by issuing an arrest warrant for Mansour al-Jamri.
The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, headquartered in Iran from the early days of the Iranian Revolution, is seen as the group behind the abortive 1981 coup attempt in Bahrain. It still functions, occasionally issuing joint statements with the BFM but maintaining its own organizational autonomy. Unlike the BFM, it does not shy away from calling for a change of regime in Manama. It is difficult to tell, in the closed political atmosphere of Bahrain, which of these two groups more accurately reflects the sentiments of Bahrain's Shi'i majority (the best recent account of Bahraini opposition politics is Bahry 1997).
The Muslim Brotherhood operates in Bahrain, and one of the foremost public figures calling for the restoration of constitutional government in Bahrain in the immediate post-Gulf War period was a Sunni 'alim who seemed to be close to the Brotherhood ideological line. However, it has not allied itself in a public way with the Shi'i groups mentioned above.
Below is a listing of the opposition groups of Bahrain:
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