Inspired by the protests in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Bahrainis rose up against the monarchy in February and March of 2011. Initiated by activists and propelled by the “February 14th Revolution in Bahrain” Facebook group, the protests had clear goals: disband the Bahraini National Assembly, abrogate the current constitution, and form a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. They demanded the new constitution stipulate that an elected parliament hold legislative authority and that an elected Prime Minister exercise executive authority.
At the time of this campaign the court system in Bahrain was divided into civil and shari’a sections; civil courts heard civil, commercial, and criminal cases, while shari’a courts heard cases involving marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, nursing, paternity, and inheritance. The lack of qualified Bahraini judges resulted in several problems in the courts. Despite claims that Bahrain’s shari’a court system helped to preserve an Islamic way of life, judges’ decisions were reportedly based on personal opinions, rather than on “fiqh,” Islamic jurispru