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Bahrain lawmaker calls for Ramadan national unity initiatives

Ramadan is ideal time to reinvigorate ‘one-family spirit’, says MP Sawsan Taqawi

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MP Sawsan Taqawi
Gulf News

Manama: A Bahraini lawmaker has urged her fellow citizens to use Ramadan to launch initiatives and organise events that will help bring communities together and boost the painful reconciliation process.

“All sectors in the country should help ease the social tension that has gripped the nation,” MP Sawsan Taqawi said. “There is an urgent need to reinstate and reinvigorate the genuine and glorious Bahraini spirit. All private sector establishments and companies should contribute seriously to support events and action to reinforce national unity,” she said.

The initiative by local daily Al Ayam to host a weekly majlis throughout Ramadan for all Bahrainis to help bridge differences and heal the wounds that have scarred Bahrain for the last two years is a good example of a move to consolidate national unit, said Taqawi, who is a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs, defence and security committee.

Majlises proliferate in Bahrain in Ramadan when community hall-style gatherings are held following the Eisha prayers. The ‘open houses’ welcome all visitors, who usually spend 15 to 30 minutes before they move on to other majlises for more informal conversations. The tradition is upheld by common people and rich merchants as well as by the country’s leaders, sparking a feel-good atmosphere that Bahrainis praise as ‘Bahrain’s one-family spirit’.

“It is truly our duty to work now on promoting our national unity after the terrible and painful that Bahrain had witnessed,” Taqawi said. “We need to put the suffering behind us and this requires Bahraini patriots to work together for the sake of the nation and the homeland and to help secure a brighter future for our sons and daughters,” she said.

Bahrainis need to interact positively with the recommendations by in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), the international fact-finding panel set up in June 2011 to look into the events that occurred in Bahrain in February and March 2011, she said. The BICI issued a report in November and included recommendations to help ensure that the unrest is not repeated.

In some of the recommendations, the BICI called for undertaking “appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to prevent incitement to violence, hatred, sectarianism and other forms of incitement.”