Probe findings 'to boost Bahrainis unity'
Manama, November 25, 2011
A religious leader has proposed that copies of a report into Bahrain's unrest be available in every single place of worship in Bahrain as it was vital for people to read the report to promote understanding between communities.
Shaikh Salah Al Jowder, a Sunni Islamic scholar, will be delivering his Friday sermon at Qalali mosque, where he intends to speak about the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and call for a fresh start to coincide with the start of Islamic New Year tomorrow.
The respected clergyman admitted the report had already come in for criticism from some in the Sunni community having been perceived as 'one-sided', but said that was largely because they hadn't read it - having only watched coverage of the launch on television.
'They (people) are upset indeed and there is a lot of anger,' Shaikh Al Jowder, a former municipal councillor, told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
'But they should not judge the commission report based on the recommendations made by Professor Bassiouni in his speech.'
He said he was himself working his way through the report and had found it to be sound. 'This report explains in details what our country went through since February,' he said.
'From what I have analysed, this commission report is good and points out the fault lines that need to be fixed.'
Bassiouni had submitted the 501-page report to His Majesty King Hamad on Wednesday at Sakhir Palace.
Shaikh Al Jowder said he planned to speak to his congregation about the report's findings in an effort to raise awareness of its content.
'How can someone judge hundreds of pages in this report by some pointers or summary mentioned in a speech?' asked Shaikh Al Jowder.
'Citizens should first understand this document rather than behave in any violent way.'
To make that possible, he is also suggesting that copies of the document should be made available in all 'mosques, churches and other places of worship'.
'This report is not meant to be kept on shelves,' he said.
'I would definitely like the BICI report to be available in mosques, churches and other places of worship.
'There are a lot of mistakes the opposition and the government made that are mentioned in this report, which the people should realise.'
The GDN reported on September 8 last year that Shaikh Al Jowder was backing an initiative to hold joint prayers between Sunnis and Shi'ites to promote unity.
The scholar from Muharraq said the healing process must start immediately after the launch of the report.
'Let's look at it this way, the commission report is launched at a time when on Saturday the Islamic New Year starts,' he said.
'It's a sign of fresh start, a new beginning.'
However, he called for illegal roadblocks, protests and other violent tactics to end now.
'No one should resort to any violent methods, whether Sunni or Shi'ite,' he said.
'Anyone can twist the report and read it their own way, but citizens should have an open mind, bury all their differences, learn and move forward.'
He called on the government to launch initiatives that reintegrate society, which has been divided by unrest, and engage all parties in a dialogue.
'I would also like to advise Bahrain Television not to promote any sectarian content and, in fact, start dealing with views from all sides,' he said.
Meanwhile, Bahrain's National Evangelical Church chairman Reverend Hani Aziz said places of worship and religious leaders should play a greater role in uniting the people.
'This report is building the bridge of trust and we hope that both Sunnis and Shi'ites get together,' said Rev Aziz, an Egyptian cleric.
'The speeches or sermons in places of worship should promote unity and not divide people,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service