GCC should criminalise culture of hatred and remain free of sectarianism

May 10, 2010

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should remain free of sectarianism and criminalize the culture of hatred, Abdul Rahman Al Atiyyah, the GCC secretary general, has said.

“I do not support the notion of Sunnis or Shiites. We are all Arab and Muslim brothers and we shall all remain Muslims,” Al Atiyyah has said. “The most significant thing is that we preserve our Arab Gulf society with all its Islamic sects and religious adherences and safeguard it against sectarianism,” the GCC secretary general told Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas.

All drives and campaigns to ward off attempts to promote sectarianism in the Gulf were supported by the GCC, he said. “There is a need to uphold loyalty and political allegiances in the GCC countries and to criminalize any attempt to spread hatred. National unity should be paramount and should not be restricted,” Al Atiyyah said in the short interview published on Monday.

The GCC senior official reiterated a call by the six member states to Iran to use diplomacy in addressing its crisis with the West over its controversial nuclear programme. “We have always stated that we are for a peaceful dialogue to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We in the GCC have strongly peaceful orientations. We and Iran are neighbours and have a common history and share the same religion,” Al Atiyyah said.

On the recent legal row over reparations between Kuwait City and Baghdad, Al Atiyyah said that the GCC countries fully supported Kuwait in its position towards Iraq over the compensation issues. “We have clearly stated that Iraq has to comply with all international resolutions on the case with Kuwait.”

Iraq’s oil minister Hussain Al Shahristani last week said that Kuwaitis should forget the past and waive their insistence on receiving reparations payments for Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion. “Iraq has paid Kuwait enormous amounts of compensation for its losses and we do not know of any country in the world that has paid such high sums,” Al Shahristani said. “Iraq cannot continue to make these payments and has made this known to the UN Security Council. We call on our Kuwaiti brothers to work together with us to forget the past, which has cost our country more than our neighbours.”


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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