Tillerson made the comment while releasing the International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
“The comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about Bahrain are inappropriate, disappointing and ill-informed, which reflect a deep misunderstanding of the facts on the ground,” said Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“All of our communities and denominations, including Shia community, have and will continue to serve as prosecutors and judges, journalists and academics, diplomats, military officers, policemen and women, members of the cabinet and parliament, and business persons and students, all of whom put the national interests above all else,” the ministry said.
Any detentions or arrests are undertaken based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity according to the laws of the kingdom regardless of race, sect, ethnic origin or gender, it noted.
“We urge the respected US Department of State to engage in direct consultations, more accurate and nuanced fact-finding, and sophisticated analysis, before commenting on our government and society,” it said.
Bahrain, a close US ally, is home to the Fifth Fleet of the latter’s navy.