Christmas carols

12 Dec, '10

There are so many things happening in Bahrain at this time of the year… We normally go to one or two concerts to absorb the atmosphere. This year, we went to the Manama Singers with some of our friends and enjoyed a couple of hours listening to some carols and even joined in a couple of them too!

If you feel inclined, here is my recording (through the iPhone, mind) for your listening pleasure:

[audio:manama_singers-1.mp3]

The Manama Singers conducted by Keith Bickle who last led the troupe in 1971 in Bahrain!

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to all!! 🙂

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Comments (28)

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  1. Steve the American says:

    Very surprised to see Christmas carols sung in Bahrain.

    • mahmood says:

      A tradition of over 100 years. Thanks to American, British and other missionaries. It’s now become part of the culture.

    • anon says:

      so now you understand something new about the Arab culture and you might change the idea that we hate all non-Muslims.

      In Bahrain we have tens of churches, temples and at least one Synagogue and Bahrainis are proud of this and very happy to have all those non-Muslims living among them.

      the same can be said about all other Arab countries.

      • mahmood says:

        Not sure about the “all other Arab” countries bit. With Iraqi Christians being butchered, Egyptian Copts being persecuted and no (official) places of worship for non-Muslims in Saudi suggests that we (Arabs) do have a long long way before we reach the religious tolerance nirvana. And of course I’m not even touching about the even bigger subject of inter-Islam sects.

        • anon says:

          I agree Mahmood, however the attacks on Iraqi Christians is a direct result for the American deeds so we can’t take all the blame for it.

          As for Egyptian Copts, though I totally agree that there is a discrimination against them, they are not persecuted or anything and Egypt is full of Churches and they practice their religion freely.

          Saudi is American’s kingdom as Robert Vitalis called it, so it’s again partly their issue not ours.

          • mahmood says:

            Sorry, I don’t agree. Particularly with the assertion that

            the attacks on Iraqi Christians is a direct result for the American deeds

            and

            they are not persecuted or anything and Egypt is full of Churches and they practice their religion freely

            Have a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Copts

            and that’s just one source.

            and there is no way I’m going to agree with you on

            Saudi is American’s kingdom as Robert Vitalis called it, so it’s again partly their issue not ours.

            May I suggest you pull back a bit and re-evaluate your position? It seems to me that you taking such positions is akin to cutting one’s nose to spite the face.

          • Steve the American says:

            Anon: “As for Egyptian Copts, though I totally agree that there is a discrimination against them, they are not persecuted or anything and Egypt is full of Churches and they practice their religion freely.”

            When I was in Egypt, a Copt told me that if they hung a cross from the rear view mirror of their car, Muslims would smash it’s windows. If they wore a cross around their neck, they could get harassed or beaten up. And, of course, the Copts were the original Egyptians when Muslims invaded, conquered, and occupied their land. Since then, Muslims have steadily pushed more and more Copts out, whittling their numbers down.

          • anon says:

            Mahmood,

            First, I didn’t mean that the American did it directly… of course they didn’t, however because of their invasion to Iraq they brought disorder and chaos and as a result of that disorder groups like Al Qa’da moved in and started to attack Christians and Shia.

            Second,
            You can’t just refer to an entry in wikipedia to prove something; anybody can write whatever he/she likes in Wikipedia but that doesn’t make it a fact.

            Third,
            Saudi is a very big country and that ideology though indigenous to the kingdom it was the believe of a few in the Najd while historically Hijaz, Hail and eastern province were very open (read a bit about hashemite in Hejaz or Al-Rasheed in Hail), but due to the alliance between Al-Suad and the subsequent US administrations (Oil for protection of regime) that kind of ideology spread and made Saudi what it is today.

          • Steve the American says:

            Anon: “First, I didn’t mean that the American did it directly… of course they didn’t, however because of their invasion to Iraq they brought disorder and chaos and as a result of that disorder groups like Al Qa’da moved in and started to attack Christians and Shia.”

            Saddam mass murdered at least 300,000 Shia long before the American invasion. Murderous religious terror is a feature of Arab Muslim culture. Thank goodness America put a stop to that in Iraq. Iraqis can thank America for putting an end to orderly mass murder by their government, then the ad hoc mass murder by Al Queda and insurgents.

            Anon: “Second, You can’t just refer to an entry in wikipedia to prove something; anybody can write whatever he/she likes in Wikipedia but that doesn’t make it a fact.”

            Don’t know what you’re referring to here, but a fact is true regardless of the vehicle which delivers it.

            Anon: Third, Saudi is a very big country and that ideology though indigenous to the kingdom it was the believe of a few in the Najd while historically Hijaz, Hail and eastern province were very open (read a bit about hashemite in Hejaz or Al-Rasheed in Hail), but due to the alliance between Al-Suad and the subsequent US administrations (Oil for protection of regime) that kind of ideology spread and made Saudi what it is today.”

            Nonsense. Saudi Arabia has centuries of custom of being murderously intolerant. While most tribes in Arabia raided and looted each other, the Wahhabis were infamous for annihilating other tribes in their raids as far back as the 1600s. America wasn’t even invented yet.

            Anon, do you ever get embarassed at defending the Arab Muslims no matter how many facts fly against you? When you make these preposterous claims, do you think it persuades anybody that reality is in error?

      • Steve the American says:

        Anon, it certainly is a surprise to me that the Arab countries are chock ablock with churches, temples, and synagogues. Could you name the ones in Saudi Arabia, please?

        • anon says:

          Dear Steve,

          Saudi arabia is the only country without any official worship places for non-muslims. however there are 21 other Arab countries and ten other Muslim nations where non-muslims practice their religions freely.

          I have been to the Vatican once and couldn’t find a mosque or a temple there, I have also been to Athens and again couldn’t see any Mosque because it is not allowed for Muslim to build mosques in those places. But that doesn’t mean all European and Western countries prohibit Muslims from building their worship places.

          • XYlo says:

            How would you fit a mosque or a temple in the Vatican, Anon? Did you really get a good look at the place?

            Athens may not have a modern mosque, but open practice of Islam and the building of mosques is not forbidden in Greece.

          • Steve the American says:

            Anon: “I have been to the Vatican once and couldn’t find a mosque or a temple there, I have also been to Athens and again couldn’t see any Mosque because it is not allowed for Muslim to build mosques in those places. But that doesn’t mean all European and Western countries prohibit Muslims from building their worship places.”

            More nonsense. The biggest mosque in Europe is three miles from the Vatican:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Rome
            It can hold 12,000 people. The land was donated by the city of Rome, the ground-breaking attended by the president of Italy. There are about 130 mosques in Italy. There is resistance in Italy to building more mosques due to the hate and terror emanating from the existing mosques, most of which are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

            While there are no mosques in Athens, there are 300 in Greece.

            By contrast, in an “enlightened” Arab Muslim country like Egypt, the Muslim authorities make it very difficult for the Copts to build a new church, a policy backed by Sharia, which demands no new non-Muslim places of worship be built and the existing ones not repaired.

            And really, in every Muslim country, the non-Muslim population is harassed and attacked, pushed out of the country by degrees. Such intolerance of differing beliefs makes Islamic countries backwards and intellectually stagnant, lagging far behind the collaborative societies of the West.

          • Anon says:

            Steve, I can’t believe how ignorant you !
            The mosque is in Italy, Vatican is a different country by the way

  2. No Eid celebration due to anger about “government sectarianism”. But Christmas is celebrated in all it’s glory, with Carols thrown into the mix. Might one assume your anger has subsided?

    • mahmood says:

      Indeed it has my friend! And you have Mrs Clinton to thank for that… but that’s a subject for a blogpost that is still brewing in my head!

      Plus. Christmas is just much more fun 🙂

      One point though, my objection wasn’t due to the “government sectarianism” per se – even thought that I maintain that it still is – my anger then was due to the abrogation of the state of the most basic human rights. The verdict yesterday only proves my point. See http://wp.me/p7TVF-Nl

      • Steve the American says:

        Quite so, Mahmood! Christmas is FABULOUS! Quite frankly, Islam could learn something from Christianity in this regard. For example, Islam could use some cartoon characters. We have Santa Claus, a jolly old fellow bearing a bag of toys for girls and boys. What does Islam have? Nada, null, squat, zero, zilch, that’s what. Would it hurt Eids so much to slip in Slappy the Happy Camel carrying some treats for the kiddies? Just saying. A few cartoon characters could loosen Islam up a bit instead of tightening the turbans down like it does now.

        • mahmood says:

          What, you mean like this one?

          • anon says:

            Mahmood,

            Steve only sees what he wants to see; the version of Islam he knows is the Wahabi version and he thinks that all Muslims are the same.

            Muslims like all other powers, they had their time when they were the pioneers of science and arts.

            Watch this:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKDSZuEHNE4

            the Ben ladens and Wahabis are a minority among Muslims and their version of Islam is so different and most Muslims abhor it and oppose it.

          • Steve the American says:

            OK, not bad, but where are the candy and toys for girls and boys? Does that Arabic on there really say “Slappy”?

  3. I see… all I have to do now is look up the meaning “abrogation” and all will be well…

  4. Robert says:

    Hi Mahmood.

    Would hate to see this rather pleasant thread diverted but these guys would certainly have spent Xmas in jail if their identities had not been sorted out. Any idea how they came to be arrested in the first place?

    • mahmood says:

      I can only assume as to the circumstances of their arrest, and that would go that either some informant poked them, or as is somewhat customary, a village is cut off and then by the scientific use of pot-luck, a couple of most-likely are apprehended.

      Believe me I don’t have too much problem with the above, call it standard practice and mistakes like these in the heat of the moment can and do happen.

      What I *DO* have a problem with; however, is that the Public Prosecutor completely abrogated his responsibility at ensuring that proper investigation is done as to leave no doubt that those apprehended are in fact guilty in the eyes of the law at the cause of their arrest and no other. The blame also squarely lies at the judge who allowed their incarceration to be extended without proper justification from the Public Prosecutor.

      The other thing I have a problem with probably as bad as the injustice of it all is the spin adopted by the paid-for press and other suspicious organs of the state which made this “attack” much more than what it actually was, to the extent of making this has-been editor an underserved national hero and his “attackers” top-flight terrorists.

      All in all, justice has not been served in this case.

      Makes you wonder if those swept up in the so called 25-terror cell actually deserve to be called such and if they are actually at fault, or were they made to serve a political end. With the now customary blanket ban on the case’s reporting by the cowardly media, transparency once again is trounced upon and their case invariably takes on political and conspiratorial dimensions.

  5. mahmood says:

    anon:

    Steve only sees what he wants to see; the version of Islam he knows is the Wahabi version and he thinks that all Muslims are the same.

    I must admit that the card I’ve put up was the ONLY one I found while searching for “eid card camel“. The number of less savory images of blood, sheep, goats, camels being slaughtered and some with their heads chopped off while others seemingly being tortured while being killed far outweigh that single pretty card.

    Steve (yes, again, I know, I should stop!) is right. We need to emulate Christmas for the “pretty” things it brings. What’s wrong with giving presents on the day and exchanging nice pretty cards using our national icons like the ship of the desert?

    the Ben ladens and Wahabis are a minority among Muslims and their version of Islam is so different and most Muslims abhor it and oppose it.

    Why do they have the most impact then? The guy who blew himself up in Sweden yesterday for instance and as far as I know was no Wahabi.

    • Steve the American says:

      Mahmood: “I must admit that the card I’ve put up was the ONLY one I found while searching for “eid card camel“. The number of less savory images of blood, sheep, goats, camels being slaughtered and some with their heads chopped off while others seemingly being tortured while being killed far outweigh that single pretty card.”

      Now Eids is sounding more like the Godfather version of Christmas, with a camel’s head in the kiddies bed.

      Mahmood: “Steve (yes, again, I know, I should stop!) is right.”

      If you keep agreeing with me, I’m going to stop coming here. There are plenty of places where I’m needed more to argue with the unconvinced.

      Mahmood: “The guy who blew himself up in Sweden yesterday for instance and as far as I know was no Wahabi.”

      He was apparently self-radicalized online by the usual Wahhabi scum.

  6. mahmood says:

    anon:

    I’ll not go into the Iraq situation at the moment as that has been regurgitated enough on this blog. Suffice it to say that while I understand your position, I do not agree with your conclusions.

    You can’t just refer to an entry in wikipedia to prove something; anybody can write whatever he/she likes in Wikipedia but that doesn’t make it a fact.

    If you scroll down you could easily see the references which could easily be followed to ascertain the authenticity.

    it was the believe of a few in the Najd while historically Hijaz, Hail and eastern province were very open

    Again, why is it that the few affect the many quite adversely? It’s not as simple as you suggest… and your (I presume) excuse for their success in spite of the disenfranchised majority is not well placed as the argument isn’t very well constructed, to be kind.

    However, I (think) I can understand your motive behind your arguments which is nobel, wanting to show that we Arabs and Muslims are okay – generally. But might I suggest that recognising our shortcomings is the best way for us to move forward at addressing them?

  7. Marion says:

    Hi Mahmood. On a cheerful note 🙂 glad you could hear the Manama singers. My sister sings with them.

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