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Bahrain minister urges youth to shun regional conflicts

Call issued after Bahraini teenager killed in Syria

Manama: Bahrain’s youth must shun regional and international conflicts and focus instead on building themselves and their nation, the country’s interior minister has said.

“Building our community is the best way to serve the Arab and Islamic nations,” Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said.

The minister issued the call following reports that Bahraini Abdul Rahman Adel Al Hamad, 19, was killed in Syria on Monday as he was fighting alongside the rebels against the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.

The teenager was believed to be the first known Bahraini casualty of the war strongly supported by “Jihadist Salafis” throughout the Arab world.

However, Shaikh Rashid said that “supporting the Syrian people is the role of the international community” and warned against being drawn into the armed conflict by violent and extremist groups.

“Receiving an education, furthering yourself and contributing to Bahrain are the best way to fulfil national responsibilities,” Shaikh Rashid said in his message to the nation’s youth.

“All Bahrainis, particularly the young who are the future of the nation, are very dear and therefore they should avoid being influenced by calls to violence and extremism,” he said.

Abdul Rahman, the son of a well-known imam, was hailed as a martyr by supporters and religious figures who paid rich tribute to his courage and bravery.

However, he was criticised by those who opposed the armed conflict in Syria and said that his presence in Syria was “blatant meddling in an issue that was way beyond him.”

His father on Tuesday held a one-day gathering to mark his death and relatives, supporters and friends offered a mixture of condolences on the demise and congratulations on the “martyrdom.”

Those who could not attend used the blogosphere to post messages that referred to Abdul Rahman as a martyr and congratulated his parents on his martyrdom.