Manama: Serious differences in Bahrain's Islamic Menbar are now coming to the fore after the society affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood suffered a crushing defeat in parliamentary and municipal elections last month.
The string of losses in two rounds of elections on October 23 and 30 has cut the presence of lawmakers representing the society in parliament's lower chamber from seven during its previous term to just two after the recent ballot.
The devastating defeat was compounded when Abdul Latif Al Shaikh, the chairman of the society and the leader of its parliamentary bloc in the outgoing house, was not re-elected.
"The society has now turned on its members. There have been too many inappropriate attitudes by the leaders of Al Menbar," Mohammad Khalid, a former MP who represented the society in the last two terms said. "We have often blamed other societies for their non-Islamic attitudes, but we have ourselves made the same mistakes that are far away from the true spirit of Islam. That is why I have handed in my resignation."
According to Khalid, who did not contest elections this year, several members of the society are also upset with the results and are planning to hand in their resignations. "It is obvious that the society needs a deep review of its performance."
However, the society chairman has denied claims that members had resigned or planned to do so.
"These are critical times, but Al Menbar is robust and its members are supporting one another and working together," Al Shaikh said on Wednesday. "Competent groups are assessing the elections and the performance of the society within a spirit of transparency and openness."
However, for Khalid, the resignation is final. According to the former MP, Islamic Menbar lost in the elections after it failed to strike a deal with Al Asala, the expression of Salafism in Bahrain, a tactic that presented the two Islamist societies a total of 15 MPs in the 40-seat lower chamber in 2006.
"Another reason is that the two societies engaged in a ridiculous war of words that caused their downfall," he said.