Knight in Shining Armour

28 Dec, '05
نزع فتيل المشكلة بعد لقاء نائب رئيس الوزراء بالشيخ سند

المنامة – حيدر محمد، بنا

نزع أمس فتيل المشكلة التي أدت الى توقيف الشيخ محمد سند في مطار البحرين الدولي مساء الأحد الماضي بعد اجتماع استغرق ساعتين عقد في وزارة الشئون الاسلامية حضره نائب رئيس الوزراء وزير الشئون الإسلامية الشيخ عبدالله بن خالد آل خليفة ووكيل الشئون الاسلامية الشيخ فريد المفتاح من جهة، والشيخ محمد سند من جهة أخرى، وحضر اللقاء رئيس جمعية الوفاق الشيخ علي سلمان.

وكشف سند لـ «الوسط» عن اتفاقه مع الحكومة على «تشكيل لجنة مشتركة في القريب العاجل لمراجعة التطرف في بعض المناهج الدراسية الدينية في المراحل التعليمية الثلاث، وتدريس القواسم المشتركة بين المذاهب، وفي حال الاختلاف تذكر وجهتا النظر». كما تم الاتفاق ­ بحسب ما ذكر سند ­ على ضرورة التوزيع العادل لرخص المساجد وحلحلة المشكلات الاجتماعية بجدية اكبر ضمن جدولة زمنية ومن بينها: «رفع مستوى الاجور المتدنيةً من 80 إلى 250 ديناراً وحل مشكلة عديمي السكن بدعم الإيجار، كما تمت مناقشة ملف تقسيم الدوائر الانتخابية الا انه لم يتم التوصل الى اتفاق محدد بشأنها».

وقالت الوزارة إن سند «أكد عروبة البحرين وسيادتها واحترام نظامها السياسي».، بينما استنكر الشيخخ علي سلمان عمليات العنف والتخريب.
Al-Wasat

What is this, the government must wait for an action like this before it does the glaringly obvious right thing? This is stupendous stupidity on the government’s part if this is an actual policy, and there is nothing that convinces me that it is not an actual policy any more.

The government knows that one of the major problems we suffer from in Bahrain is sectarian descrimination, and it has been advised of this dangerous situation in no uncertain terms time and again over a period of decades and it chose to completely ignore that advice, now because of a demonstration at the airport due to the apprehension of the Shi’a cleric Shaikh Mohammed Sanad and his demand that this should be immediately fixed it suddenly wakes up from its deep slumber and gives this issue its full attention? Even though that suggestion has been comprehensively (wrongly but intentionally) defeated by parliament, thus giving credance to rule by demonstration or force or catastrophy rather than the rule of law, logic and common sense?

Part of me does not want to look a gift horse in the mouth as I am happy that they have at last seen the light and are going to create a high-level committee to review all religious education books in schools and remove all sectarian as well as extremist issues from their content, however I am absolutely insensed that they have once again kowtowed to a “situation” rather than engage their collective brain and logic.

So that’s it then. If anyone wants any change in this government, forget democratic means and institutions, hire a cleric and have a demonstration and pooof the situation which we have suffered from for decades and centuries will suddenly disappear.

Cowards.

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Comments (7)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Knight in Shining Armour

    All of a sudden the vocal voices here are silent. So I have the pleasure of commenting first here.

    How do you make Alkhalifa listen to you?

    A 10-year violent uprising and countless threats from international organisations, the UN, Amnesty and you name it forced a new King to launch a so-called reform program.

    3-years of continuous protests since this King backtracked on his constitutional promises, which has recently turned violent amidst explosive political tension, is also forcing the King (as his statement yesterday indicated) to acknowledge the danger of the situation and deal with it how he knows best – clamping down (taking from the left-hand) and giving droplets of hope in his right hand. Who says this latest ‘meeting’ which will manage to silence Sanad is not just the usual government rhetoric. But for the love of the land, I do hope that the whole education curriculum will be overturned and re-written to one that fosters tolerance, love, good work ethic, hope, ambition, and unity. The present generation will not so easily rid itself of its government distrust, but maybe, if the King is true to his words, future generations will foster less hatred of the ‘other’ be they sunni or shia.

  2. anonymous says:

    Knight in Shining Armour

    Pretty please, Mahmood, (or a commentor) would you please summarize the Arabic? I noted that Shaikh Abdullah has met with le cleric Sanad who shook a figurative finger at the airport conflagration, but you’re not saying Shaikh Abdullah is the knight, right?

  3. anonymous says:

    Knight in Shining Armour

    “If anyone wants any change in this government, forget democratic means and institutions, hire a cleric and have a demonstration”

    No, mahmood… we’ve had clerics and demonstrations for years… didn’t work out… if you want things to go forward.. do what senór sanad did.. call for the UN

    The Joker

  4. mahmood says:

    Re: Knight in Shining Armour

    That English in the quote block is an approximate translation. What I’m implying here is that even after the riots were instigated because of Shaikh Sanad’s detention, he has become the hero because:

    1. he specifically subsequently distanced himself from the rioters as did Shaikh Ali Salman the leader of Al-Wefaq, the largest political grouping on the island. And
    2. As an apology from the government he was asked to meet the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister to present his demands which he summarised as the revision of the religious education curriculum, eradication of unemployment, provision of appropriate housing and housing benefits and the raising of minimum wages. I didn’t cover the items other than the religious education because I feel that those were bluffs and padding rather than actual demands.

    In responding to his wishes, the bargain from the government was that he:
    1. denounce the acts of sabotage and saboteurs.
    2. declare that he does not want to overturn the government
    3. declare that he respects and agrees with the rule of Al-Khalifa
    4. that he will not demand a UN referendum to legitimise the rule of Al-Khalifa
    5. that Bahrain is definitely an Arab country (in reference to the 1970 UN referendum which forced the Shah of Iran to formally rescind any demands to annex Bahrain to Iran.)

    So he was made to look like the knight of the situation, while the dumb rioters/his so called supporters were once again left high and dry, and much much more importantly, they shut him up about his continuous demands of a UN-backed referendum to get the people of Bahrain to decide who should rule them.

    A commenter on another online forum highlighted the possibility that Sanad’s maneuvers could just be him exercising the concept of taqiyya.

  5. mahmood says:

    Re: Knight in Shining Armour

    They’ve all been calling the UN and the “higher power” to get things done every single time! Like you I want to find out what buttons did Sanad press specifically to get such a massive and immediate response?

    Let’s see:

    1. He’s a dissident and one of those who were forced to leave the country for years.
    2. He went to London to study engineering, however later changed his mind and decided that his calling was in religious studies. He subsequently went to Qum and joined up and deservedly got his license as a mujtahid and was/is one of the youngest people ever to be given that license. (according to Manama Republic) Which proves to me that he is very intelligent and should be taken very seriously.
    3. As he is now an internationally acknowledged religious figure and a Bahraini dissident, he acquired a following in Bahrain, his native home. I understand that he’s not only popular with the plebs. He does have the respect of well-to-do families both Sunna and Shi’a because of his various stances and the logicality of his demands.
    4. He attacked the legitimacy of the rule not by inciting people to riot, or stood publicly against contentious issues like the Family Law etc, but went right to the crux of “the problem”; his thinking is that the UN (not the arrival of Al-Khalifas over 250 years ago on the shores of Bahrain) has given legitimacy to the rule by a limited referendum after the British left to decide on a single and clear issue: do Bahrainis want to be regarded as Arabs or Persians? The result of course we wanted (and still do) to be regarded as Arabs, hence Al-Khalifa’s rule was inculcated. As the UN has given, the UN can take away again, so all of his efforts throughout is to get the UN to do a comprehensive (rather than selective as was in 1970) referendum, and everyone will have to abide by the outcome.

    These are very simple points of course and are logical, but can you imagine for a second that an independent country would entertain that? That’s like accepting the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia declaring independence! Can you also imagine the outcome of a national referendum in the UK to decide whether the UK should change into a republic and do away with the monarchy? Would the UK entertain something like this?

    My reckoning is that the button Sanad has put his finger on is logical and legitimate application of intimidation. That’s why he got this bargain. Thinking about it since yesterday, I would have hoped that he demanded more important things, like fixing the constitution or at least criminalising discrimination. That last one would not only have taken care of the disparity of religious education, but could have fixed a lot of unfixables, jobs, military, opportunities, housing, electoral districts, etc.

    Lost chance?

    Re-run?

  6. mahmood says:

    Re: Knight in Shining Armour

    Joker here’s a very interesting article you might be interested in reading as it sheds light on the “Wefaq Break-aways” of which Shaikh Sanad is one (I’m fairly sure) in demanding UN intervention in Bahrain, the article is an interview with the chairman of the National Democratic Action Society (ndas) Ibrahim Sharif by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas on Dec 13th (which put Sharif in a bit of hot water with the authorities here):

    هل كان ناجحا خيار مقاطعة الانتخابات عام 2002، وهل ستقاطعون انتخابات 2006؟

    خيار المقاطعة كان الخيار الطبيعي للوضع في ذلك الحين، كان ينبغي للجمعيات المعارضة أن تسجل موقفا تاريخيا على دستور 2002، وهذا لا يلزمها باللجوء الى الخيار نفسه في انتخابات 2006، والدليل وجود حراك سياسي في المعارضة للمشاركة كجمعية «الوفاق» أكبر الجمعيات في البحرين، ومجموعة صغيرة داخلها انفصلت عن الجمعية، أقاموا حركة جديدة أسموها «حق» وسقفهم أعلى من سقف المعارضة، فنحن سقفنا دستور 1973 ، وهم الآن يتكلمون عن دستور جديد يعطي جميع السلطات للشعب بإشراف الأمم المتحدة، يسعون لتدويل الموضوع، ويقصدون تدخلا دوليا دبلوماسيا وليس عسكريا، ونحن نشاركهم الرغبة بوضع دستور جديد للبلد، لكن لا يمكن حرق مرحلة كاملة قد تستغرق لدينا عشر سنوات أخرى، ونحن نحتاج أولا لتثبيت مكتسبات دستور 1973 ، وسنذهب معهم في طرحهم، نحن نتفق معهم، لكننا نعتقد أنها الخطوة الثانية وليست الخطوة الأولى للإصلاح، والقضية الثانية التي نختلف فيها معهم هي أن ما يطرحونه الآن إعادة كتابة العقد، بينما نقول لنرجع للعقد أولا ثم نعيد كتابة العقد مشتركين مع النظام
    Al-Qabas Newspaper via aldemokrati.com

  7. anonymous says:

    Knight in Shining Armour

    هل لدى الأسرة قبول عند الشعب؟

    أعتقد أن شعبية اأسرة والملك وولي العهد تراجعت الى حد كبير، أما رئيس الوزراء فلا يملك أي شعبية، «يعني صفر

    Hmmm…. 🙂

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