Egypt’s ambassador to Bahrain has said that insulting remarks made by an Egyptian about Shiism during a business meeting in Manama, which provoked a physical altercation that was recorded and went viral on social media this weekend, was “an individual act.”
The man, who was identified by news outlets as Yasser Ahmed El-Attar, is facing charges of insult, libel, assault, and inciting factionalism, according to a statement by the Bahraini prosecution on Friday, which said he has been referred to criminal court.
He was arrested as he attempted to leave the country and has been detained for seven days.
In press statements on Saturday, Egyptian Ambassador Soha Al-Far said the issue is currently under investigation.
El-Attar reportedly works as a legal advisor to Bahraini NASS Group, and was also an advisor to the chairman of the Bahraini Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A video showing a quarrel between El-Attar and several Bahraini men, following a meeting of the chamber of commerce’s assembly, went viral on regional social media networks on Thursday.
The video shows the Egyptian man shouting insults and alleging Iranian funding of Shias, to which an apparently Bahraini man responds with a slur, and leading to a fight between El-Attar and several other men present.
The controversial video triggered responses from social media, including a tweet by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa.
“He who insults the Shia of Bahrain also insults its Sunnis. He is an intruder and not one of us. May God protect Bahrain and its people,” Al-Khalifa wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Around 70 percent of Bahrainis are Shia, while the royal family is Sunni.