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The joint prayer organised by BFRCD earlier this month
at the A’ali Grand Mosque

Conflict resolution training for young Bahrainis

MANAMA, July 22, 2015

A workshop will be held next month (August) to train young Bahrainis in conflict resolution.

International experts will be flown in for the ‘Summer Youth Workshop’, which is being organised by the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation Conflict Resolution (BFRCD) in co-operation with Washington-based Search for Common Ground (SFCG), said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

A group of 30 men and women will be selected for the two-day workshop that will focus on leadership and conflict resolution.

However, organisers have still not confirmed the date and venue of the event, which follows an initiative by the BFRCD earlier this month when Sunnis and Shi’ites came together for joint Friday prayers.

On July 3 and July 10 Muslims in Bahrain united at the A’ali Grand Mosque and the Ahmed Al Fateh Islamic Centre (Grand Mosque) in Juffair, respectively, in defiance of deadly mosque bombings in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by radicals affiliated with the Islamic State (IS).

“We are planning to have the youth workshop sessions in August, but it depends on getting the visas for two trainers from Egypt and Yemen,” BFRCD chairman Suhail Al Gosaibi told the GDN yesterday.

“The training will be open for registration and men and women from a cross section of the Bahraini society, Sunni and Shi’ite, can apply.

“They will be trained under two age groups – 15 to 20 and 21 to 30.

“The main idea is for the youth to learn to look at the situation from another persons’ perspective.

“We need to learn not just to see from our viewpoint, but also to think about the other side and to be able to reflect.

“The second aim is to help them explore conflict resolution options which they might not have considered before.

Focus

“The key is not to focus on our differences but on finding common ground so that we can work from there and move on.

“Finding common ground and moving forward is the mission of the SFCG and we are happy to collaborate with them.”

The society will also host a meeting of religious leaders in Bahrain next month.

“The aim is to get these leaders together to address the topic of sectarianism and find out to what degree it is an issue in Bahrain and what can the religious community do about it,” added Al Gosaibi.

A series of ‘dialogue dinners’ is also in the pipeline, which will bring together government officials, young Bahrainis, community leaders and politicians.

“The whole spectrum will be involved in these dialogues, where we get to bring together people who would normally not get to sit together around one table,” explained Al Gosaibi.

“We have had such sessions in the past and these were probably the best events and enlightening experiences we have had.

“In Bahrain we have ideological encampment and people tend to mix with a group with the same views in an area or mingle with those with similar ideologies.

“These dialogues help to realise differences and also makes sense of the differences and also helps in reducing some tension.”

The GDN earlier reported that Bahrain stepped up security at mosques since the bombings, including installing security cameras at places of worship and closing of mosques after each prayer session for caretakers to sweep places of worship for suspicious objects.

Al Gosaibi said the joint prayer initiative, which followed the bombings, was a “success beyond all expectations”.

“While we are delighted at the success, it has to be noted that we received many sectarian remarks against the prayer.

“Some even went to the extent of saying that Shi’ites were not Muslims.

“However, I firmly believe that this is a minority and the vast majority of Bahrainis are moderate people.

“The unity prayer was a symbol and we hope the mosques take the initiative to continue it on their own, while we, at the BFRCD, would want to move on with other initiatives beyond prayers.”

SFCG, an international non-governmental organisation, operates in 30 countries with a mission to transform the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approaches towards co-operative solutions. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Training | Bahrain | Leadership | resolution | conflict |

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