Bahrain’s public prosecutor has charged a high school student and two teachers with insulting Islam in connection with a video showing the student reciting verses from the Koran to musical accompaniment, state news agency BNA reported on Wednesday.
According to Islamic tradition, tajweed, the recitation of Islam’s holy book, adheres to strict rules of intonation which vary according to a number of recognised reading styles.
Footage allegedly showing the student reciting Koranic verses while a teacher played an instrument to accompany him were posted on social media, BNA said.
The Ministry of Education investigated the video and found that the school had entered a competition for Koranic recitation, commonly held for children around the Muslim world.
Two teachers and the student were subsequently questioned by the public prosecutor.
“The public prosecution … charged them with violating the Islamic religion and insulting its rituals,” the agency said. “It also ordered them detained protectively over the case.”
Western-allied Bahrain has a Shi’ite Muslim majority and is ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa dynasty. Although Bahrain has more liberal laws compared to neighbouring Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf Arab countries, it still has deeply religious and conservative sections in its society.
The small island Kingdom has been suffering political turmoil accompanied by mostly small-scale unrest since 2011, when Shi’ite-led mass protests erupted, calling for reforms and more representation in government.