Shia mosque demolitions raise tension in Bahrain

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Two bulldozers and two large trucks are busy removing a large pile of stones, wood and prayer carpets on a large square — all that remains of a small Shi’ite mosque in the Sunni-ruled kingdom of Bahrain.  “Do you see this ? This was a mosque until this week. They destroyed it,” said a Shi’ite man, stopping his car in this poor Shi’ite village outside the capital Manama to point to another heap of masonry, where residents say another mosque once stood.  A religious book lies on top of stones next to a carpet, branches of a palm tree and parts of a gate of a mosque, one of three reduced to rubble next in a residential area.
“It was an old mosque,” said the driver, who like other residents declined to give his name for fear of reprisals. Last month the royal family in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, quelled mainly Shi’ite protests inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere, declaring martial law and calling in troops from Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf neighbours. Hundreds of Shi’ites have been detained and others fired from public sector jobs, the opposition says.