Culture Wars and the Protests in Bahrain

This post will surround the controversy outlined in this article:

The “Twelve Point Flag” and Bahrain

According to many “urban myths” and internet forums, and even some notable Bahraini regime figures, the protesters have been waving a “Twelve Point” version of the Bahraini flag, which now has 5 points (although it originally had 8 – this detail is important).

Throughout these protests of the Arab Spring, we’ve heard a lot of rhetoric about Sunni v Shia, threats of civil war, and radical Islam. I think that this “culture war”, no matter what the angle.

In Bahrain, regime loyalists have said that the protesters carry this “twelve point flag” to show their designs against the regime. This has to do with the fact that most Bahraini’s are Shia. Explicitly, most Bahraini are “Twelvers” Shia, Muslims who believe that there were Caliphs and are waiting for the Mahdi, who was the 12th Caliph who disappeared, to return.

The Bahraini flag itself has 5 points. These represent the Five Pillars of Islam. When protesters are accused of using a twelve point flag, it carries racial undertones, according to the author linked above. These undertones are important to watch as we monitor the ongoing crisis in Bahrain.

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