Bahraini Shiite clerics attend a protest against the revocation of the citizenship of top Bahraini Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim (portrait), on June 20, 2016 near Qassim's house in the village of Diraz, west of Manama. / AFP / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH
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Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the kingdom's Shiite Muslim majority, state news agency reported Monday, prompting protests outside his home and a sharp rebuke from an Iranian paramilitary chief.The move against Ayatollah Isa Qassim comes less than a week after a court ordered Bahrain's main opposition al-Wefaq group closed, accusing it of fomenting sectarian unrest and of having links to a foreign power, in an apparent reference to regional Shiite power Iran.Qassim could potentially face expulsion from the country.BNA, quoting an Interior Ministry statement, said Qassim had been trying to divide Bahraini society, encourage youths to violate the constitution and promote a sectarian environment in the country.The crowds gathered outside Qassim's house chanted Shiite slogans, witnesses said.The move spurred a strongly worded statement from top clerics, including Qassim, against any attempt to meddle with the collection of a Muslim tax called Khums, which is a pillar of Shiite Islam.
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