Selective Citizenship, Bahraini-style


Parliament is considering legislation by the government to compel Bahrainis with multiple-citizenship to rescind them in favour of the Bahraini citizenship within 3 months of the legislation becoming the law.

I know that many countries in the world have similar conditions for their citizens. What is different in our situation is that I know – through precedent – that if this law sees the light of day, and I believe it is as this parliament doesn’t have the balls to refuse anything the government shoves down its throat, it will be once again selectively applied.

Consider this: most of those affected by this law will probably be many members of the royal family, the “top” merchant families and the rest of the upper echelons of society…. I wonder if they’ll acquiesce to the government’s mandate, or are they going to simply ignore it, like they do with most other laws?

Regardless, I don’t believe that the government will pursue them of course, the law will not apply to them. It’s highly probable; however, that they will enact penalties against those less fortunate, or more appropriately, those the government deems from the opposition, undesirable for some reason, or those that it wants to intimidate or harass to leave.

Fun. And games.

This gives you a flavour of the so-called parliament we are saddled with. A bunch or rubber-stampers. One that instead of protecting the society that has supposedly elected it, are diligently working to rob it of whatever minuscule freedoms that remain. And at the same time haplessly pushing through laws which reduce the parliament’s very own rights too. Despicable.

And this has been forced through by the government in the last few days of their term, capitalising on their “injury time” as they’re about to break and  with elections scheduled for the autumn. Whether those elections will be effective amongst wide calls of boycott is another matter. In any case, I believe that this is the very worst parliament we have ever had in this country and fully agree with Shaikha Mai who wasn’t wrong when she described them as “not men”, or “مو رياييل”, because they’re anything but.


  1. Bader Noaimi

    I’m all for complaining about parliament every time news of something comes from them, but I have to strongly disagree with the things you said.

    This new law is not the conspiracy you are making it out to be. The original GDN article reporting this stated at least three times that this legislation is aimed at naturalised citizens i.e. non-citizens who receive a Bahraini citizenship later on.

    Additionally, the only sections of the legislation (according to the GDN) that affect Bahraini nationality holders is that Bahrainis will no longer be able to take on another foreign nationality without permission.

    Which is the same system that nearly every other country in the world operates. When people want to take on another nationality or citizenship, they are usually forced to choose one between the two.

    1. Post

      Thank for your response Bader.

      According to Al-Wasat [ ] the GDN is glossing over the truth, as it usually does. Unfortunately there aren’t other English language press that I can link to which offers more details.

      There are many countries in the world allowing dual or multiple citizenship. Here’s a list: and here’s another

      Wikipedia has more information here:

      And while the new legislation appears to target only those newly nationalised, there are loopholes in which these can apply to indigenous Bahrainis too. For instance, living abroad for more than five years without returning to Bahrain might be cause for resigning one’s Bahraini nationality. I’m not sure if any other country in the world does that. Once you’re naturalised, then you remain so for the rest of your life, regardless.

      1. badernoaimi

        Thanks for linking the article. The 5 years residence thing still applies only to naturalised citizens.

        But the GDN didnt include the information at the end that Al Wasat did about revoking nationality from people who potentially “are disloyal” to Bahrain.

        This makes sense now. I think that potentially this could target people like Maryam Al Khawaja, who currently holds dual Danish and Bahraini nationality.

  2. Peter Clifford

    This is clearly another nail in the coffin of democracy and freedom in Bahrain. And as one of your correspondents has suggested it will be used to target those Bahrainis that live abroad or hold dual-citizenship like the Alkawajas.

    This is certainly not about enacting laws that make Bahrain the “same as anywhere else” – it has too far to go to be anywhere near the democratic, fair, just society it should be.

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