Bahrain Insider

By Darwish, Adel | The Middle East, March 1999 | Go to article overview

Bahrain Insider


Darwish, Adel, The Middle East


A spate of arson attacks in Bahrain has been linked to the work of Islamic terrorists or organisations opposed to the island's ruling government.

"Bahrain is a good place for investment," revealed an American businessman with long ties to Bahrain, "but the problem with the Bahrainis is that they just don't have the PR gene, they don't understand how to project their image."

Recently I was covering a spate of arson attacks on clothes and furniture stores and found myself putting the American's statement to the test.

In London my fax machine spat out another message from the Bahraini Freedom Movement (BFM), a handful of Islamist campaigners and a couple of journalists working on Iranian backed publications. The BFM bombard British journalists and members of parliament with faxes accusing the Bahrain government of violating human rights.

On investigation the only 'evidence' the BFM could provide were names of people detained. Further examination of the scant facts available revealed the 'arrested' are often teenage boys, involved in some minor fracas, who are detained by local police then released after a couple of hours when a guardian or a parent collects them from a police station.

In fact, some of those the BFM allege are undergoing torture in Bahraini prisons, were found to be free and in good health by visiting foreign journalists.

Interviews with BFM leaders leaves little doubt about the totalitarian nature of their Islamic Fundamentalist ideology. Their final aim is to declare an Iranian style Islamic republic. An idea frowned upon by the majority of Bahrainis, especially women, who dress in Western-style clothes, drive cars and are among the most highly paid and educated in the Arab world.

Bahrain survived on business and trade long before oil was struck in 1932. The population grew accustomed to tolerance and multi ethnic existence. Bahrain is just about the only place in Arabia where you find synagogues, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist temples as well as all Christian churches. To survive the post-oil era, Bahrain has built itself up as a service-based economy, the banking centre of the Gulf and an oasis for visitors who drive across the causeway from Saudi Arabia to enjoy Bahrains relaxed laws.

The very concept of free choice seriously undermines the authority of clergymen who call for a totalitarian Islamic state. "A teenager exposed to the latest in Western culture beamed down from satellite television is torn between enjoying himself and obeying strict and harsh Islamic rules imposed by the local clergy," according to a Western diplomat. "Frustrated kids take it out on shops and in running battles with the police," the diplomat said. Most arson attacks are the work of angry teenagers. Seventy per cent of Bahrainis are under the age of 27. Although Bahrain provides the highest standard of community service, health clinics and education in the region, overcoming social patterns is hard. Most of the angry teenagers are from mainly Shia dominated villages - poorly educated, due to higher birth rates.

The very first ever teenage troubles started back in 1994, "it had nothing to do with political reforms," according to a local journalist. "Clergymen incited teenage boys to stone contesters during an international marathon because female athletes were running bare legged which, they said, was anti Islamic. The police had to intervene to restore order. The kids liked the idea of dragging the police into battles, so they repeated it when they had nothing else to do." Opting for the comfort of a conspiracy theory, security officials point the finger at "outside influence and outside planning." The arrest last November of a "network of saboteurs" of five Bahrainis and a Lebanese man, who were planning more arson attacks, reinforced their suspicions. The minister of the interior, Sheikh Mohammed ibn Khalifa Al-Khalifa flew to Damascus, the real power that controls Lebanon, with "a file of evidence" after many appeals by the Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa to his Lebanese counterpart had little effect, according to western diplomats in Manama and Damascus. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Bahrain Insider
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.