Manama: Syria loomed particularly large in Bahrain this week following the death of a Bahraini teenager and the parliament’s call to raise funds and to adopt a staunch stance against militant militia Hezbollah.
On Monday, Bahrainis were informed through social networks and microblogs that Abdul Rahman Adel Al Hamad, 19, had been killed in Syria as he was fighting alongside the anti regime rebels.
His young age and his status as the son of a well-known religious figure in the country have augmented the impact of the news on the people.
Abdul Rahman was branded a martyr and a hero by those who supported the presence of Islamist fighters in Syria alongside the local rebels against the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.
His father, the imam and Friday preacher of a mosque, is known for his Salafist tendencies and his support for an all-out war to remove the Syrian leader and put an end to his regime.
On Tuesday, he held a one-day gathering to receive condolences from relatives, supporters and friends. However, for most of those present, the occasion was to congratulate the father on the “martyrdom” of his son, and not to mourn.
Messages sent around Bahrain and beyond referred to Abdul Rahman as a martyr and congratulated his parents on his martyrdom.
“The body will not be flown to Bahrain and he will be buried where he was martyred,” Abdul Aziz, a Bahraini familiar with the Salafists, said. “That is what Abdul Rahman wanted and that is exactly what God gave him.”
Witnesses said that Abdul Rahman, a devout young man who was starting university, had been to Syria once before.
“When he returned to Bahrain, he did not feel at ease and was heavily preoccupied with what he saw. He simply could not bear to remain here and wanted to go back to Syria. He did not inform many people about his plans, but he left Bahrain and managed to slip into Syria where he joined a group fighting the regular army until he was martyred,” they said.
They said that they were not aware he had received proper training in using weapons.
“Maybe they trained him in Syria before they allowed him to go to the field,” they said.
Several Bahrainis said that they were “elated and overjoyed” over the new status of Abdul Rahman as a martyr and used their social network accounts to praise him and congratulate his father and mother.
However, the blogosphere was also filled with comments saying that he had been wrong to go to Syria to join the rebels and criticising the parents for encouraging him directly or indirectly to get involved in the Syria conflict and take up arms.
In the parliament on Tuesday, lawmakers used the weekly session to praise the government for banning contacts, under any form, between local political formations and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
The parliament had earlier pushed for considering Hezbollah a terrorist organisation, a step they deemed necessary to block contacts with its members.
Two lawmakers used the session this week to call for raising funds for the Syrian people, saying that they were being slaughtered by the regime and needed all the care and attention they could get.
A fund-raising event was held at a mosque and the bisht — the formal overall worn by men — of a Syrian religious leader Shaikh Adnan Al Aroor fetched 15,000 dinars (Dh145,232)in an impromptu auction as people collected money for the residents of the strategic Syrian city of Qusayr where fierce battles are being fought.