A new report on developments in Bahrain notes that the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood has not only not been designated as a terrorist organization but continues to operate publicly. According the report carried by the Al Monitor Middles Eastern news portal:
The ruling family’s ties with the Bahraini Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, Minbar, and the more conservative Salafi society, Asala, to counterbalance the Shiite opposition has been another pillar of the regime’s strategy for standing strong since 2011.
Formed in 1984, Minbar’s platform reflects Bahrain’s liberal (by GCC standards) social environment, particularly with respect to women’s rights, although the group has close connections with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Kuwaiti branch. Many of Minbar’s members belong to the Hawala tribe, Sunni Arabs who migrated to Persia before returning to the Arabian Peninsula’s eastern shore. The Bahraini Muslim Brothers are middle-class professionals, many of whom are teachers and police officers.
Despite pressure from other GCC states, Manama has not designated Minbar a ‘terrorist’ organization. The Sunni Islamist society not only continues operating publicly, but Bahrain’s Royal Court and Islamic banking sector reportedly fund Minbar. In exchange, Bahrain’s Muslim Brothers have backed the government’s post-2011 crackdown. In February 2013, for example, Minbar boycotted the national dialogue to protest what the island’s Muslim Brothers saw as unacceptable Shiite ‘silence’ on violence plaguing the uprising’s two-year anniversary. At times, Minbar has even criticized the ruling family for responding too softly to Shiite dissent.”
Read the entire article here.
In March 2014 we reported that Bahrain’s foreign minister had said that “Bahrain backs brotherly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in confronting the plans of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood.” Despite that pledge, as noted above and unlike the UAE for example, the Muslim Brotherhood has not been declared illegal in Bahrain.
In February 2013, we reported that the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain was boycotting a session of the national dialogue. A post from January 2011 reported on a renewed alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood of Bahrain and their Salafist counterparts. A post from 2010 reported on the difficulties faced by the Bahraini Muslim Brotherhood in the elections at that time.
A UK media report provides more information about the Muslim Brotherhood of Bahrain whose political arm is known as Menbar.