June 20, 2016 / 6:46 PM / in 3 years

U.S. criticizes Bahrain's move to strip cleric of citizenship

Bahrain's leading Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim takes part in an anti-government rally in Budaiya, west of Manama, Bahrain March 9, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is “alarmed” by Bahrian’s decision to revoke the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the country’s Shi’ite Muslim majority, a spokesman said on Monday.

“We are alarmed by today’s decision to revoke the citizenship of Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We are unaware of any credible evidence to support this action.”

Bahrian is a U.S. Gulf ally and hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by Chris Reese

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