The major organizers of mourning rituals in Bahrain have reportedly been summoned and threatened by the authorities.
Some religious centers have been warned that should they host Muharram rituals they would be fined and shut down for three years.
The security apparatus has also had some local media outlets publish articles against organizing mourning ceremonies.
Commemorative services are held world-wide by Shia Muslims to mark the anniversary of tragedy of Karbala in 680 AD. Imam Husain Ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third Imam of Shia Muslims, was martyred in the desert of Karbala, located in contemporary Iraq by the Omayyad's as Imam Hussain refused to pledge allegiance to their caliph Yazid.
This year, as the Coronavirus pandemic rages on, governments and health authorities everywhere are cautioning people to commemorate the event with strict health guidelines in mind.
In Bahrain, however, Shia Muslims have not been cautioned but banned from holding Muharram mourning rituals, ostensibly, to battle the pandemic but critics say the truth is far beneath the surface.
Bahrain's most prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, has condemned Manama's decision to ban mourning ceremonies in Muharram, deploring the double standard that the ban has been introduced while business centers, markets, pools and sports clubs have reopened in Bahrain.
It's obviously, hypocrisy, to a greater extent, but at the same time you can see that, you know they are playing to their masters.
Okay, the things that please their masters is having their pools and gambling venues, and all of those kinds of things, but also they want to make sure that the economy does not suffer.
Bahrain is an autocracy ruled by Saudi backed Al Khalifa regime which is accused of systematically discriminating against the country's Shia community, which accounts for eighty percent of Bahrain's population.
Discriminatory practices affect Shia Muslims across a vast array of issues, including employment, freedom of expression, and political rights.
The Shia community faces exclusion from the military and security apparatuses, the arbitrary revocation of Bahraini citizenship, and the denial of medical care for prisoners.
The Bahraini monarchy has historically used alleged ties between Shia opposition groups and Iran to justify the systematic denial of political rights.