Quota achieved?

This just in:

Bahraini King Hamad called on Tuesday for a toughening of the country’s policy on naturalisation, which the Shiite Muslim majority already considers beneficial to the ruling Sunni minority community.

“Experience in matters of naturalisation has proven that it is illogical to grant Bahraini citizenship to a person who is not fully imbued with the national spirit,” the king told the opening session of parliament.

A naturalised citizen “must respect the law” and be “loyal” and “the nation must have need of him,” he added, saying citizenship should only be granted “in extreme cases.”

This is the first time the king has spoken about the qualifications for naturalisation, which has divided the two communities for years. [source]

Does that mean that the quota has been achieved? Or is this acquiescing to community mounting pressure? But, let’s assume that it is the recognition of a wrong policy and an attempt at putting right what went somewhat wrong.

Either way, I’m happy to hear that his majesty is attuned to his people’s concerns, particularly this very thorny issue, and I fully condone the policy of granting the Bahraini citizenship to only those who deserve it. Rather than seemingly haphazardly granted to any and all who don’t, while leaving those who should be sought left out in the cold.

Next? I would dearly love for the king to initiate a Truth and Reconciliation Commission – a-la SA – in order for us to continue to move forward and build a cohesive society. The re-evalatuation of the naturalization is an excellent step forward too.


  1. MZ

    You know, when we lived in Bahrain, my father was offered the citizenship on several occasions and he turned it down. His take on it was simple: this would turn me into a second-class citizen as the ‘native’ Bahrainis will never see us as equals.

    I’m not sure if I would have turned it down, but I understand the sentiment.

    I’m happily carrying on with my Sudanese passport and continue to have nothing but love for Bahrain.

  2. Pingback: Bahrain: Naturalisation Cap? · Global Voices

  3. Coolred38

    I was offered Bahrain citizenship numerous times…and my Bahraini husband urged me..and at times tried to force me…to take it. Bahrain took a lot from me in my 23 years there…but my nationality was never going to be sacrificed while it was up to me. Seriously, America has its problems and people dont always look favorably upon Americans…but what right minded American would give up their American citizenship to be a Bahraini?

    And what were the reasons for this sacrifice…so I could get medical care for free…yeah that deficient medical care that nearly killed me too many times to count (no lie)…I shouldnt be forced to pay for that sort of care. Among other things.

    No thank you.

    1. Anon

      I guess youre better of with your US citizenship, it’s only worthy if you’re an Arab or Asian passport holder. The unannounced class system favors American and European on Bahrainis and Bahrainis on Arabs and Arabs on Asians. And of course if you are white American that’s even better! Welcome to Bahrain

    2. Eyad


      Well … I don’t think Bahrain and Bahraini people will really miss u and will die for you to be one of our citizen …

      1. Post

        Well, considering that she was systematically abused from the very first day by her Bahraini husband who proceeded to further abuse his children by her then to be let down by the Sharia courts and the justice system in protecting her rights and those of her children, what exactly did her situation in Bahrain give her to encourage her to usurp her original nationality in favour of ours? None of her rights were protected. None. And none of her children’s either. Keeping her US citizenship allowed her to help her children and get them out and allow them to have a semblance of a better life in the US.

        For the backstory my friend, please visit coolred38.blogspot.com

        1. Anonny

          I was fascinated by coolred38’s implied story and went to her blog, but couldn’t find it. I found an article that talked about a link at the top of the page, but nothing else ..

          1. Coolred38

            Im currently writing snapshots of my life in Bahrain on my blog…just go to the posts that have the taglines “my life in Bahrain” or “my life as a Muslim”…among others..you will find them.

          2. Anonny


            I didn’t want to keep digging though, I felt too much like a voyeur. Whatever transpired, I hope all issues resolve themselves.

  4. Anonny

    I’d love to have Bahraini citizenship. I left Bahrain last month. I hope to come back again. I’m in the UAE now and it’s nowhere near as cool. Bahrain is my home, I feel.

    But I guess it won’t happen. Oh well.

  5. AbuRasool

    I hope you are right that the statement indicates that “his majesty is attuned to his people’s concerns”. I agree with your first commentator advice to the king: Act, Don’t Talk.

    BTW I got my Bahraini passport renewed for another year! They probably reckon I am too old for a fiver.

  6. Nhusain

    I strongly disagree with the king. The current naturalization policy should continue as is. Maybe even make it more open.

  7. Anonny

    @Nhusain, why should it be more open? What’s your interest in this?

    1. nhusain

      As far as your concern with regards to the unfettered immigration resulting in the taking over of Bahrain. The solution is get as many kids of these people Bahranized through the public school system! My interest in the matter is that Bahrainizing the immigrant population and encouraging them to integrate will result in a overall more healthy society in Bahrain. However

      1. Anonny

        @ nhusain. I ask you what your interest in this is and you answer with a vague cliche about encouraging immigrants to “integrate”. Go to the souk on Friday to see “integration”. Go to Safra to see “integration”. How are Bahrainis benefitting?

        I’ll ask you again: what is _your_ interest in it? It is clear that you are not Bahraini.

          1. Anonny

            This I understand. I do too. 🙂

            But our ties can sometimes lead us to imagine a false picture of what is good for Bahrainis. I’ve done this myself in the past. I ask myself, what have I given to Bahrain? It feels like I’ve given so many hours, days, weeks, years of my time. I wonder how many Bahrainis wanted or even appreciated my contribution. But it’s their place. I must respect their wishes, however much it hurts when they speak of rejection of expats or denying long-termers a shot at naturalization.

          2. Post
          3. Anonny

            Well he now has the opportunity to explain his ‘ties’, Mahmood. Let’s see if we can get a little transparency!

  8. Faisal

    We have always welcomed people to our country with open arms & with a smile but now a days we are jobless, hungry, homeless in other hand we see naturalized citizens in land cruisers.

    1. nhusain

      Yes this is a problem. There are many inequities in the country. What are the solutions. The labor laws encourage companies to hire foreigners. Thats where the reforms needs to start. There is little incentive to hire local. Any other ideas?

      1. Post

        Do what Europe and other developed countries do and refuse entry for work any foreigners if locals can do the job. Including entry-level jobs. If a job cannot be filled by anyone other than a foreigner, then allow that foreigner the honour of a Bahraini citizenship within 6 years of his or her arrival…

        1. nhusain

          This sounds reasonable. But it will be at a cost. Services would become more expensive such as in the west. Maybe some middle path solution needs to be found.

          1. Post

            It’s not for me or you to decide, but should the government consider this, then a national referendum will need to take place. I suggest that it will be a won or lost by a very narrow margin.

            I would vote for temporary suffering in favour of long term solutions.

          2. Anonny

            Why should Bahrainis worry about the price of services when they are unemployed and struggling to buy decent food or shelter?

            Everything you say, nhusain, suggests that Bahrainis should continue to allow themselves to be overrun by immigrants.

            Most Bahrainis I know believe that there are far too many foreigners in the country. If you go to the souk you see foreigners selling to foreigners with very few Bahrainis present. Go on Friday afternoon to see a glimpse of a future Bahrain created by unfettered immigration.

    2. nhusain

      Bahrain is a great place and definitely the people of Bahrain are really nice and great. My suggestion to help alleviate the pressure on families they should marry their women of marriagable age to the many students of neighboring Saudi Arabia that are currently studying abroad. They have a fixed stipend and have decent chances of employment on their return. I think the Rotary club of Bahrain should help facilitate this initiative.

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