BBC’s The World Today Interview

21 Feb, '11

Did another interview with the BBC yesterday, this time for BBC World’s The World Today program. Here’s the segment for posterity.


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Comments (68)

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  1. Louis says:

    Mahmood how much do i appreciate your honesty when you responded to the ignorance of some of these naturalized Bahrainis!!! Amazing Job. You are a man among so little men.

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      Those of you who keep denigrating “naturalized Bahrainis” are promoting divisiveness as much as some are promoting divisiveness between Shi’a and Sunni.

      • mahmood says:

        Again, context.

        • Anabahraini says:

          Peacefulmuslimah statement is very clear.
          thumbs up – from me.

      • Louis says:

        Your right, i didn’t mean it that way. All people on earth are my brother and sisters. Except the naturalized ones (context:) which have come to Bahrain and oppressed the indigenous by torturing and opening fire on them indiscriminately. Meanwhile, you have Farden who spreads lies and does not defend the truth. Therefore, i don’t see why i should consider this person my “brother”.

  2. Hani says:

    Who is this Fardan person again?! What an idiot!

    • Anabahraini says:

      @Hani : He might be young and inexperience but he made his point. Insulting his comments does not proove your point.

  3. Saud Qannati says:

    great one mahmood

  4. Desert Island Boy says:

    I loved how he went and made your point for you – namely that the 2002 Constitution was essentially the King’s document.

    The thrust of the matter should be a referendum on that 2002 constitution.

    Me personally, I would like to see better transparency in the judicial system, transparency of private business interests of government officials (either that or placing of private assets in the hands of 3rd party managed blind trusts). But I don’t get the sense that we are at that bridge yet.

  5. Of ALL THE PEOPLE they could have chosen to speak against you, they chose THAT GUY???

  6. Lorena says:

    So proud of you as always ..yoi speak the voice of Bahranis .. not “naturalized Bahrain’s”every one has the right to talk .. is what we always defend but not like this , this guys shall take some speech lessons … hope you are doing fine … God Bless .. by the way i have some seed for you “Plumerias “..

    • Anabahraini says:

      Of all the people in Bahrain they choosed majority of teenagers for Protests from HIGH School (with few exceptions the minority).
      The Young protestors donot contemplate except to follow their leaders. Where are the Leaders?

  7. Good job, Mahmood, well said! Only I wish they’d found you a more worthy opponent than some guy insisting on rattling on about Iran … surely they could have found someone with more intelligent arguments to make (or, perhaps not).

    • mahmood says:

      The producers weren’t doing their job I don’t think.

    • Anabahraini says:

      Why not? If the majority of the PROTESTORS were teenager Fardan did fantastic job.

      You boast the teenage protestor but criticise a mature IT Consultant.

      Now thats double standards.

  8. Anonny says:

    That bit where you say “Oh God ..” So funny. I literally laughed out loud!

  9. Shiraz says:

    Any govt MUST acknowledge our God given rights of freedom of expression, to pursue liberty, and to decide our own future or that govt will one day fall. Govt must realize these rights come from God and NOT from the STATE. That govt must be OF the PEOPLE. These are NOT WESTERN ideas but what every clear thinking soul desires. To live free and to make a better place for our children.

  10. Ali Abdulla says:

    was it just me or did that guy sound Indian? if he is a Bahraini that was born and grew up in Bahrain i will eat my shorts!

    dont get me wrong, i have nothing against indians or anyone else for that matter.. i just think it sounded a little fishy..

    • Desert Island Boy says:

      Well, AbdulLatif Al Zayani was not available – still having trouble with his “proportionality”-meter.

    • Anabahraini says:

      “…. i will eat my shorts!”
      Defination : Slang for eat my shit

      Well thats discusting. His comments were not that strong to make eat your shorts.

      Ali, stop being racist!

      • Ali Abdulla says:

        i am not racist, all i was saying was that he was speaking with at least in my ear a clearly Indian accent, as for what i said, no i didnt mean eat my shit! i used an expression as a way of expressing my skepticism or disbelief at the stated fact that he is a born and bread Bahraini

        take the time to actually think of what i was saying rather than just going off like that at me.. i also CLEARLY state that i have nothing against Indians or anyone else..

        also on a final note, i did not at any point refer to any comments or words he was using at all.. again it was just his accent.. and it was simply my opinion.. everyone is entitled to it.. even people like you who are just trying to pick a fight..

        • peacefulmuslimah says:

          So he is a Bahraini of Indian descent. We have a lot of Americans of Indian descent, too. And your point about him having an Indian accent is…?

          • Ali Abdulla says:

            all i am trying to say is that it seems odd that his accent is Indian.. it made me doubt his “claim” that he is born and raised in Bahrain.. just a personal opinion, not trying to make a big deal about it as other seem to be..

            peacefulmuslimah im not sure if you live in Bahrain or not since your talking about americans, but in Bahrain you can identify the city a Bahraini comes from based on his accent, so its not like im creating drama out of nothing even though drama was not my intention..

            to be clear, i didnt mean to offend anyone, and to make things more clear my father is Bahraini my mother IS NOT.. peoples claims of racism have no base with me, but then again its easy to misinterpret what someone hastily typed in some comment box on the internet

            also im not the only one who thinks so:
            Johnster Tuesday, 22nd February ’11 at 9:31

            “The guy is definitely indian or pakistani (cf his pronounciation of V and W). Where does he get this minimum wage for Bahrainis thing? I have never heard of it.

            Mahmood you did a great job !”

          • peacefulmuslimah says:

            I am American, yes, but have lived in Qatar for the past 12 years and visit Bahrain.

            I don’t really expect to open anybody’s eyes here about the divisiveness of some of the comments here as I keep reading the Classic reply to such an accusation: “Some of my family/mother/best friends/etc are not originally from Bahrain so I have nothing against them.” During the Civil Rights era some bigoted Americans used to respond to similar accusations saying, “Some of my best friends are Black.”

            I was just hoping to make a few people think about the irony of asking for greater inclusion for Shi’a while subtly (or not so subtly) excluding some naturalized Bahrainis.

            It seems hopeless, though so I guess I should just give up 😛

        • peacefulmuslimah says:

          Also, I know a lot of people in the Gulf whose parents are originally from India, Pakistan, Palestine and Egypt, but they were born and bred in the GCC. Most countries never give them citizenship but of Bahrain does, I say good on them.

  11. Meggie Whetstone says:

    Hello Mahmood,
    I’ve been popping in of late just to make sure you are OK. I think you got your point across very well in the interview.

    Now for the bad news- They’ve cancelled your beloved Grand Prix. Lets hope it can be re-scheduled for a later date.


    • mahmood says:

      The national dialogue is much more important to us. The F1 can be rescheduled or brought back next year.

      • Anabahraini says:

        I was never support of it anyway. I wish if Bahrain had a big SCIENCE PARK size of F1 area instead of F1 Track.

        This would upgrade Peoples Mind. Now it only rolls our eyeballs in horizontal direction.

  12. peacefulmuslimah says:

    I think the attitudes displayed here, mocking the other guy on the interview are really shameful for all of you who want to promote the idea of No Shi’a/No Sunni/Just Bahraini. Apparently you mean NO ASIANS/ONLY ARABS/ JUST BAHRAINI! 🙁

    How would you respond to an American making fun of an Arab American’s accent or an Indian American’s accent.

    • Bahraini says:

      The worst is yet to be shown peacefulmuslimah if the government gives in to their unreasonable demands.

    • mahmood says:

      That’s not the point. You don’t understand the background of the naturalisation process which is detested almost universally by Bahrainis. Bahrainis have absolutely no problem with deserving naturalised Bahrainis: professionals, doctors, businessmen and are more than welcome, but the dregs of society are another matter. So please try to understand before you judge.

      • peacefulmuslimah says:

        Mahmood, if you asked Americans to weigh in on who is “deserving” of naturalization and allowed us to make the decision who isn’t, then we could say the same thing. You can always find a reason to exclude people. Some do it based on religion, others on race or culture. You would accept “professionals, doctors, businessmen” but not the lower level workers and laborers who give years of their lives working to make a living in Bahrain? when did you become such an elite? 🙁

        And I am trying to understand, Mahmood. That is why I ask questions. But you also know me to have opinions and I assume even when they differ from yours or your supporters, you would still expect me to express myself. Right?


        • Desert Island Boy says:


          The entire US immigration system is a Kafka-esque labyrinthine game where they make these sort of determinations long before someone shows up to a swearing-in ceremony.

          But at the end of the day, every decision by the USCIS has the force of law behind it. And it makes no decision that is not endorsed by the law. Even if it comes across as a mindless bureacracy, it is held to every single word of the law. Immigration law is imperfect and highly controversial in this country, but no one questions the motivations of its office, the dedication of its badge-carriers or the integrity of the judges in its courts.

          Bahrain’s naturalization law is vague, and it’s implementation is capricious. That is not the fault of anyone who by accident of birth is forced to utilizing it to secure his rights in his own country or of those who seek better lives and opportunities, but they are the faces available to the backlash.

          At the end of the day, those deserving of naturalization are those who are authorized by law. In the United States you have a water-tight accounting of that. In Bahrain, those accounts are completely opaque and therefore lend themselves perfectly to accusations of a political “Trojan Horse”.

          • peacefulmuslimah says:

            Well thank you for your faith in our system, I wish I shared it! lol 😛

            But that said, this issue can be addressed by creating laws that will tighten immigration policies. And I have no doubt that Bahrain is on its way to a new day with greater political participation by ALL citizens. I just hope that those citizens will not exclude others as they complain they have been excluded. 🙂

        • Reeshiez says:

          Peaceful Muslima:

          Political naturalization in bahrain is very different from naturalization in the United States. In Bahrain naturalization is carried out selectively based on sectarian and tribal origin in order to change the demographics of the country and is very similar to what happened in South Africa and in Israel. Naturalization in countries such as the US, UK, Canada and Austria is based on the rule of law and does not use race, national origin or religion as a basis for granting citizenship. In addition to political naturalization you have people who have lived in Bahrain for generations who are not given citizenship because of their ethnic origin (mostly persians) as well as children of Bahraini women who are not granted citizenship because women cannot pass their citizenship to their children. You can read more about political naturalization here:

          You should also research the bandargate scandal.

          By the way I currently live in America and I am married to an American citizen. I am a lawyer and I respect the immigration process in the US and would love to see Bahrain adopt a similar model (on a small scale of course since we have high unemployment and are a smaller country). What is happening in Bahrain is NOTHING like America.

          • peacefulmuslimah says:

            Again, as I stated before, immigration is allowed because it is believed to be in the best interests of the country for one reason or another. we may not agree with that reason, but that is reality. Not accepting those who have received citizenship is just as bigoted as not accepting fellow citizens based on religion. As a country you need to accept these people and move on.

            That said, you should definitely move to change your laws regarding immigration. I am fully aware of the Stateless people and the disadvantage of children of Khaleeji women married to non-Khaleejis. We have these issues in Qatar, too. I think the law can and should be changed.

            I remember “Bandargate” and am aware of the corruption that exists in all governments. We must continue to root it out and work for more transparent governments — starting with my own (the US) first 🙂

      • YoYo says:

        Well said Mahmood,
        A lot of people do not understand why Bahrain’s government naturalised so many in very short time.

        I am shiia Bahraini married to a lovely British woman, I tried to get her a Bahraini passport but failed due to lack of “wasta” and refusing the concept of “bribery”, as a result, I moved to UK.

        • peacefulmuslimah says:

          Actually I do understand the why the government naturalized. They thought it in their best interests to get the numbers of Sunni citizens up. My country made the decision to naturalize people for its own self-interest. In fact, I would say most countries do that. Don’t forget that naturalized citizens often make up the bulk of low wage workers.

          I still don’t think that makes it acceptable to denigrate those naturalized citizens.

        • Anabahraini says:

          Sorry hard to belive that.
          Last I spoke to one Bahraini he is also married to Brit Girl and he recived a card from Immigration Department which included the date his wife will get Bahraini Citizen Ship i.e. 5years from the date of Marriage Certificate.

          So please submit your documents to Immigration Dept and start her process.

          • YoYo says:


            Thank you very much, but it is 12 years too late.

            FYI, in 1987 my late father, had to bribe then Director of Passports BD1500 in order to get my wife residence permit but only after she was finally in the country as a “British Visitor” and not as a spouse of a Bahraini. I have experienced it first hand so please do not say it does not happen.

    • Desert Island Boy says:

      My criticism of this young man (and @20 years of age, I was probably as ill-informed as he is) is that he was rather incoherent and didn’t have a full-on proper argument.

      He was in denial-he just did the same old tried and true methods of triangulation, blame-the-victim, be-happy-with-your-lot condescenscion while tripping over some rather obvious logical fallacies.

      His accent, or his background told me nothing that his comments didn’t already betray-that he was not prepared for this.

      It’s not like Mahmood came off perfectly either. The host, rightly in my mind, had to put the brakes on him before it dissolved into a shouting match (I know that these are tense times, and if I was in that spot, I could easily have made some snide comment).

  13. hussain says:

    Must watch…! Dont miss this..!

  14. Bernie says:

    I have to admit Mahmood, I fell apart laughing at that point. You said it all in two words.

  15. YoYo says:


    Excellent points and response.

    That guy definitely does not know what he is talking about, and the “Oh God ..” summed it all up, by the way it was very funny.

  16. AnaBahraini says:

    25 year Fardan – IT Consultant RIPS 50 year old MAHMOOD blogger representing opposition. (Age estimated by voice of Mr. Fardan and Voice and Photo of Mr. Mahmood.)

    BBC manners Mahmood for his racist and insult comments live on BBC World.

    goto : www{dot}bbc{dot}co{dot}uk/iplayer/console/p00drdpn/The_World_Today_20_02_2011

    Go to timeline 27.00 to listen to the Q&A by BBC

    • Desert Island Boy says:

      I disagree-he didn’t know what he was doing. He made no coherent argument, unless you read between the lines and imagine what was UNSAID-Be Happy with your Lot and go home; trouble us not with what ails you.

      From Fardan’s own comments, I conclude that he is 20 years old. And if you ask nicely, Mahmood will tell you exactly how old he is. (well maybe 5 years ago, he would have…)

      • Anabahraini says:

        1. Well if Mr.Mahmood and the demonstrators/protestors want Monarch to be like Unite Kingdom fine I support their mission if they fully comply with British Polictical System in regards to Immigration Laws. The feelings and signals I get from all this is they want democracy (demon-crazy) and at the same time they dont want to provide citizenship to immigrants who had been their from british rule and above 20 plus years.

        2. Lets accept it NOW Bahraini is not ARAB monoply. And it is backed by Rasul Allah (peace be upon him) khutbah al widahs speech. I support all nationality as long as they put in to the Bahraini Community and progress on top of the Agenda.

        3. Look at how Muslim florished for 1000 Years. Their agenda was never sunni – shia – yemeni – pakistani – indian etc. Their agenda was progress. It is backed by many facts when a human focuses on one thing they will get it – even be it the protestors demands or progress in sceince & technology. And even Allah says this in (Q)Koran (cant remember the ref).

        Rasism should be protested in any way or form. I strongly belive racism kills socities and destroys country.

  17. Anonny says:

    Sorry? It was perfect.

    I am fearful for Bahrain. A real Pearl beset and buffeted by larger forces. The fate of those demonstrators breaks my heart. The fact of 2 crowds instead of one worries me. Is it too late to talk? Please no.

  18. anonymous says:

    The 9/11 truth is out on the internet.
    This is the truth – The WTC was destroyed by 3 thermo-nuclear explosions.

  19. exclamation mark says:

    I just want to know, why the pro Al Khalifa supporters do not know much about what they’re talking about?

    Is that a phenomenon or what?

  20. Johnster says:

    The guy is definitely indian or pakistani (cf his pronounciation of V and W). Where does he get this minimum wage for Bahrainis thing? I have never heard of it.

    Mahmood you did a great job !

  21. ingwarwick says:

    I am glad to view your site again. I don’t know about the immigration issues in your country, but it’s good to see so many opinions.

  22. خارجی says:

    Despising immigrants for their religion, ethnicity or race is unacceptable, and the sort of thing which we see too much of in western nations.

    Despising a regime for unjust policies which can only lead to such tension is I think natural.

    The difference between the two is the difference between Law and Justice.

    In a country where the head of state holds all power, anything they choose may be legal – but that does not make it just.

    One should not despise the immigrants who take advantage of this “legitimacy” but one must question the justice of a system that allows incomers more right to citizenship than the children of native women. It would not be surprising to see, after a change in such a regime, people calling for counter measures.

    Let us pray that sense prevails.

  23. Anonny says:

    T-shirt idea: Mahmood’s face with speech bubble saying “Oh, God”

    Beats that Takbeer thing.

  24. Desert Island Boy says:

    It doesn’t MATTER whether he was hindi/pakistani/howli/ajmi/masri/hadramouthi, whatever!!

    We were robbed of a proper debate because Fardan FAILED to make a case for the regime and the status quo. None of us need to resort to ad hominem attacks to see that he had NO coherent argument whatsoever.

    Peaceful Muslimah has done more to advance a proper debate than Fardan did. Someone with that calibre of thoughtfulness and decency is what is required in any debate.

  25. peacefulmuslimah says:

    Thanks DIB, I was afraid I was pissing everybody off. lol

    I hope Bahrain gets that thoughtful discussion and healthy debate. Everyone will benefit from a better Bahrain and I keep this in my prayers.

  26. Little John says:

    Hello Mahmood,
    I’ve been reading your blog for perhaps over a year now and many times have considered dropping in a comment or two.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the debate and comments between yourself and the regulars to your blog; especially Steve the American and what appears the rest of your readership.

    Not only that, but from reading this blog and its contributors comments, you have succeeded in bridging that cultural gap for me, thank you.

    In reading I now know so much more about Bahrain than I would ever have thought, from where to get the best bagels to where I can get a Nazi haircut 🙂 This is why this all feels very personal to me.

    I still have a lot to learn and understand about the true politics and people of the region, which is why I’m holding my peace in respect at this time. I wanted to simply to express my great admiration for you brave Bahrainis, all of you. I truly hope you get all you deserve and more from this action. For what it is worth you have my admiration and your have more guts than you know.

    A final thing that stirred me into writing were the comments by peacefulmuslimah. At such an important time in Bahraini history they choose to lecture individuals on how politically correct they are. They obfuscate the debate with provocation simply to massage their ego. I am tired of them and urge you not to waste your time justifying yourself to them, they are not your moral superior. They are wise in all things that do not matter.

    Fingers crossed, Godspeed and a fair wind up your arse, as we say, it’s nautical good luck, I’d love to hear a few Bahraini equivalents 

    • mahmood says:

      That’s very kind of you my friend. Thanks for visiting and hope that you continue to.

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      Racism and exclusion is not about political correctness. It is the very core of what the Shi’a are complaining about. Unless you are saying that their whole protest is an attempt at being PC?

  27. Norbert Mancusa says:

    A society that excludes one portion of its people based purely on religion is headed for problems. I worked in bahrain for 20+ years and can state for a fact that no Bahraini shia youth are allowed to work in the Air Force on there Fighters our Helicopters. They have only sunni and Pakistanis, many of the sunni are Yemeni, Jordanian who were given passports. I met many hundreds of young inteligent shia youth who wanted to serve there country and work on F-16s but were and still are denied that right only because the are shia and as Reem tells all that can not be trusted.

    • AnaBahraini says:

      @Norbert : I partially disagree with you. I know a family who father was Pilot from Pakistan but they left Bahrain 10 years ago.

      Now you have Americans, British and Bahraini Pilots.

      For Engineers you have Bahraini, British, Philipinoes, Indians, Pakistanis, Yemenies and Sudanese.

      Its multicultural and Bahrainis are kept with them so that they are learn and trained properly.

      • Norbert Mancusa says:

        Having been personnaly invloved for 20+ years I can state for a fact that there are no bahraini Shia youth being trained are working as mechanics for the Police or BDF on the fighters our helicopters. Yes the sunni youth are being trained as you mentioned in the two government sectors but but not shia I was there prove me wrong you can not it is a fact. I am not talking about an A340 at gulf air, this is a divisive form of religious prejudice that needs to end, how can this be right when you exclude 70% of your population you are only asking for problems, do you understand this ana?

  28. Oh God! says:

    The policy of blaming Iran ,not sure if it already posted,but anyway here is an interesting link:

    • peacefulmuslimah says:

      Haven’t heard anyone blame Iran for the current unrest, but have heard them fearing Iran becoming more influential. Interesting link, though. Thanks 🙂

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