Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has ordered his royal title to be changed from “His Majesty” to “His Greatest Majesty,” in a move that has drawn scorn and ridicule from social media users.
The Arab country’s royal court reportedly sent a communiqué through the ministry of information to local news outlets on Wednesday, ordering them to use the new title in reports, as well as in official speeches and correspondence.
“Please adopt the following name for His Greatest Majesty, and amend the news received in your newspaper today: His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Great Country, may God protect him,” the notice read.
The order to change his royal designation has led to vicious backlash on social media, with a barrage of criticism and contempt from activists who see the move as smacking of self-aggrandizement.
“The world is planning [to go] beyond the moon, Mars, and Jupiter, and the Hamad regime invents a new title that will bring down all of Bahrain’s problems and its political and economic crisis,” Latifa al-Husseini, an activist, said in a tweet.
“Perhaps it can be said sarcastically that the problems of the country and the people in Bahrain have been resolved once and for all, and that there is a genius in power who was guided to solve all of this with one stroke of a pen [the following the notice],” said another activist, Yusuf al-Jamri said.
King Hamad has amended his royal title previously as well.
The 72-year-old monarch, who has ruled the Arab country since 1999, was declared an Islamic constitutional monarchy in 2011, a ruling that bestowed him with the status of king, instead of an emir.
Bahrain’s Al Khalifah regime has long been criticized by global rights groups for its abysmal human rights record, and brutal suppression and killing of pro-democracy activists.
The country has seen regular demonstrations since the popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The majority of the population in Bahrain are in favor of the Al Khalifah regime relinquishing power and allowing the establishment of a just and broad-based system representing all Bahrainis.
Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.
In June 2016, the Bahraini regime revoked the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, a leading pro-democracy Bahraini cleric, prompting protests and sit-ins across the country.
Bahrain is one of the Arab states that signed US-brokered normalization deals with the Israeli regime, which Iran and other Muslim countries termed a “humiliating act”.