Sunday, August 24, 2008

King offers London Bahraini Jews dual citizenship

King Hamad of Bahrain's audience with his former Jewish subjects in London was reported by Leon Symons in the Jewish Chronicle of 14 August. The king is riding a wave of international approval: his tiny kingdom's tolerant image was boosted by the recent appointment of a Jewish ambassador. The loyal Jews of Bahrain have always enjoyed the support of the (Sunni) royal family, but things have not always been rosy, the synagogue remains shut and today there are worrying signs of popular radicalisation. Would Bahrain pass the kippa test - ie could a Jew walk the streets wearing a kippa (skullcap) without attracting hostility?

"The historic appointment of his country's first Jewish ambassador appears to have prompted the King of Bahrain to learn more about his Jewish subjects. So last week, he came to London to meet a few of them.

"There are officially only 37 Jews in King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's island kingdom, one of whom, Houda Nonoo, has become the new ambassador to Washington. An even higher number - 45 - of Jewish Bahrainis are ex-pats who live in Britain.

"So a plan was formed that the next time King Hamad was visiting London, he would meet a group of them. Thus, last Friday, he met the business people, the authoress, the accountant and many more at London's Dorchester Hotel in an audience that lasted more than an hour and spoke volumes for one tiny Arab country's race relations.

Huda Nonoo, Victor Sweiry and King Hamad (photo: Jewish Chronicle)

"The King himself obviously enjoyed the occasion, professing pride that Bahrain was the first Arab country to appoint a Jewish ambassador to anywhere, let alone Washington. The appointment of businesswoman Mrs Nonoo, a member of Bahrain's Shura Council, the upper chamber of parliament, was seen as ground-breaking in the Arab world.

"The thing was no-one knew about Houda," said the King. "We never take notice of religion. It is citizens that count. It is nothing to do with Israel. It is our normal business with America."

"Speaking of the meeting with his ex-pats, King Hamad said it was simply business as usual: "I see it as normal. They are all Bahrainis and they like to come here to live. I came here to see them. This is the kingdom of tolerance." He gave an ever-widening smile.

"The King eschewed the traditional dish-dasha (robe) and shumagg (headdress) in favour of a tan-coloured suit, striped shirt and striped tie.

"When he arrived, the guests were ushered into a room to meet him individually. Later, flanked by his prime minister - who is also his uncle - he spoke to his guests in Arabic for about 15 minutes, welcoming them and telling them he had reactivated a law that allowed them to hold dual Bahraini-British citizenship.

"He said he was very proud of his Jewish subjects, who "have been model citizens". He expressed disappointment that Bahrain's one synagogue was not open and operating."

Read article in full

Jewish News article


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Pity to be represented by a if she cares for bahrain..haha

Anonymous said...

In response to the other anonymous above: Pity to be a Jew in an Arab country. As if the Arabs give a rats ass about the Jews (or anybody else).

Anonymous said...

Anon II:

Looking at what's going on in the PA between Fatah and Hamas, Lebanon (Hezbollah usurping power and leading the rest of the country into Syria's and Iran's jaws), Syria, Iran, Iraq and other middle eastern countries that are Sharia-friendly if not officially under Sharia, Arabs don't appear to give a rat's ass about each other, either.

Anonymous said...

"Arabs don't appear to give a rat's ass about each other either."

I couldn't agree more. You took the words right out of my mouth!

Anonymous said...

so if u pity being a jew in an arab country leave go where u belong coz SHE is not a bahraini originall,married to none bahraini and it's a pity for a muslim country to be reprented by a jew...

bataween said...

I would very much like to know WHO is a Bahraini Original?
From Wikipedia: Rule of the Sunni al-Khalifa tribe "resulted in a gradual attrition in the position of the Shi'a community" as Sunni Arabs were brought in from other parts of Arabia and soon formed the urban population including the ruling class, the military, and much of the merchant class. Land ownership slipped from the Shia "through a system of heavy taxes and other extortions and were reduced to cultivating the palm groves as feudal peasants of their Sunni overlords."

After the Saudis conquered al-Hasa and Qatif in 1796, the Al Khalifa briefly became their tributaries. When the Saudis re-established their power in the region in the 19th century, they attempted again to bring the emirate of Bahrain under their control, resulting in many battles and skirmishes between the two dynasties. This, however, was opposed by the British, who by that time had become highly influential in the Persian Gulf, viewing it as essential to their control of India. Britain's policy in the Persian Gulf at this time stipulated "uncompromising opposition" to the Saudis in Bahrain. In 1859, a British naval squadron was sent to protect the islands, and the British resident in the Persian Gulf notified the Saudi ruler Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud that it viewed Bahrain as an "independent emirate." In 1861, the British imposed a protection treaty on the emir of Bahrain, ending Saudi efforts to bring the islands under their sphere of influence as a protectorate. The treaty was the culmination of a series of treaties with the British, beginning in 1820,and ending with British withdrawal in 1971. The population of the island at the time was estimated to be around 70,000 persons. In the early 1920s the islands were rocked by disturbances between the Dawasir and the Shi'ite Baharna of Bahrain. As a result, most of the Dawasir were compelled to leave Bahrain and settle on the Arabian mainland as subjects of Ibn Saud."

Anonymous said...

no one asked u who is bahraini originally,her hudband isnt bahraini at all,maybe they gived him nationality now hehe...and we should be represented by someone who comes from the majority not minority and less than that....