Manama: Religious leaders in Bahrain have joined a campaign to promote tolerance and reforms and shun sectarianism.
The initiative was launched by a parliamentary bloc that has called on local religious leaders to seize the auspicious occasion of Ramadan to bolster unity in the country.
Several religious figures, politicians, lawmakers, dignitaries and members of the business community responded to the call and signed on Wednesday the Code of Honour to help heal the country that has suffered its worst social crisis in modern times.
“Religious figures from both sects have joined hands to preach a common message of peace to help unite Bahrain during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Bahrain Bloc, made up of independent lawmakers, said.
The signed document will be a commitment by those who sign it to use their efforts and religious position to highlight the importance of rebuilding a better Bahrain, MP Ahmad Al Saati, the head of the Bahrain Bloc, said, adding that those who break the code will be held accountable.
“As we observe today, many religious leaders have misused their platform to spread hatred and violence, causing instability and insecurity among the citizens,” he said. “They should influence and spread love rather than hatred as their commitment of the vocation. Consequently using this document will bring together a coalition of religious leaders as the Code of Honour will help unite them to promote unity among the people of Bahrain.”
According to Saati, religious pulpits should not be used to discuss sectarian issues or politics and all religious figures who sign the document should speak a unified language.
“There is no political agenda behind this initiative that is in response to potential extremism,” he said. “This initiative is a sincere and patriotic effort to rebuild Bahrain once again and not a matter of favouring any side or sect.”
Khalifa Al Dhahrani, the Speaker of the lower chamber, backed up the initiative.
“During these critical times, we need to see one another, exchange smiles and engage in conversations,” he said at the launch ceremony at Beit Al Quran, the museum of the Quran. “Regretfully, there are friends and common people whom I have not seen for a long time. There must be exchanges of greetings on the wonderful occasion of Ramadan and take new steps forward,” he said.
The invitation will be sent to all religious heads in coordination with the Supreme Council of Islamic affairs. The document will also be sent to those who cannot make it to the venue.