Bahrain king calls for more tolerance and mutual acceptance

August 28, 2011

King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on Sunday evening called for the prevalence of tolerance in Bahrain, saying that he forgave those who abused him and senior officials.

“Our aspiration is for tolerance and for shunning violence, and not for excessive punishment that affects our unity, cohesion and national co-existence,” King Hamad said. “Such a wish requires that we build bridges of cordiality and friendship so that our hearts converge for the sake of everybody’s interests,” he said in an address to the nation to mark the last ten days of Ramadan.

Scores of Bahrainis were arrested in security-related charges and hundreds lost their jobs following weeks of unrest and political turmoil and the imposition of the national security law in mid-March, emergency laws that were lifted on June 1 after calm was restored.

Special courts were set up and looked into the cases that ranged from unlawful gathering with harmful intentions to plotting for the overthrow of the regime.

“We would like to emphasize that we do not anticipate putting everyone on trial. There are those who were charged with abusing us and senior officials in Bahrain, and we today announce that we forgive them as we hope that they understand that abusing us and others in fact offends everyone and achieves nothing,” King Hamad said.

The monarch, 61, said that all civil cases would have their final ruling issued in civil courts.

In his speech, King Hamad expressed compassion with the citizens “who were victims of injuries, ill-treatment or death.”

“There are security men who were martyred while they were on duty for the nation and we are responsible for them and for their families. There are those who got arrested and investigations proved that they were the victims of individual behavior and were ill-treated in custody. This is not tolerated by God and we do not condone it. The state has the responsibility to provide them with the necessary protection so that the law takes its course,” he said.

Under Bahrain laws, people are entitled to their rights, the king said.

“Bahrain has a law that allows victims of ill-treatment to ask for compensation,” he said, adding that “the decision to set up the independent fact-finding commission is the best indication of our full commitment to knowing the whole truth and to giving people their rights.”

Orders have been issued to the concerned institutions to look promptly into the cases of workers and students who had been dismissed, King Hamad said.

“When we see workers at their places of work and students at their learning institutions, while some other workers are not working and some other students are not studying, we are prompted to look into their situation in order to help them join their colleagues and classmates. Such an accomplishment will benefit the workers, the students, their families and the whole nation. These are our orders to the concerned institutions and they should implement them more quickly,” he said.

Hundreds of students and employees were dismissed upon recommendations by  investigation teams before the authorities said that they should be reinstated. The University of Bahrain and the Bahrain Training Institute have allowed around 340 students back while several employers took back their employees. However, the reinstatement movement has been slow in some large companies.

King Hamad said that the last few months were painful, and even though Bahrainis lived in the same country, some had forgotten about the inevitability of co-existence.

“We must not swerve from our trust and faith in our common future, regardless of the diversity of our sects. Otherwise, we lose our trust in one another as brothers, colleagues and citizens in this beloved country,” he said.

“We all grew up on this good land that brings all of us together. Our history testifies that our co-existence has placed our nation among the World’s most civilized, open and developed countries. None of us wants to live alone with his sect and to exclude the others. Our success is in our cordial co-existence with its various cultures but with its definite patriotism and civilization.

Ramadan has contributed to the restoration of the cohesion and pure hearts of Bahrainis and made them recall their traditional interactions, compassion and fraternity that were an integral part of growing up, he said

“This is the best indication of the genuine nature of our people, as well as of the strength of their faith and the depth of their allegiance,” King Hamad said.



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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