Bahrain has stripped a leading Shiite cleric in the Arab Gulf country, Sheikh Isa Qassim, of his Bahraini nationality following a request from the Interior Ministry.

The Bahrain News Agency quotes the Interior Ministry on Monday as saying the cleric had played a key role in creating an extremist sectarian atmosphere and working to divide the society.

The decision to strip Qassim of his nationality comes just a week after the country's largest Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, was suspended amid lingering unrest.

The cleric is the latest Bahraini Shiite to lose his nationality in the island-nation. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says at least 250 people have been stripped of their Bahraini citizenship in recent years due to their alleged disloyalty to the Sunni-led kingdom.