The Jews of Bahrain have leapt to the King of Bahrain's defence, by endorsing his intention to host an interfaith conference organised by Rabbi Marc Shneier. The rabbi has rubbished reports that this is a cynical effort to rebut accusations of religious intolerance in Bahrain. (With thanks: Lily)
The Jewish community in the Kingdom yesterday hailed talks between His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and leading Jewish Rabbi and Vice President of the World Jewish Council Marc Schneier. Members of the community said that the talks were a testament of Bahrain’s religious tolerance. DT had earlier reported the visit of Rabbi Marc Schneier to Bahrain.
His Majesty received him. Both leaders agreed that Iran is a common threat to Bahrain and the US. “It’s a good gesture from King Hamad to receive Rabbi Marc Schneier,” said Bahraini-Jewish community leader Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo. “I was pleased with the outcome that Bahrain will be hosting the interfaith conference.”
Rabbi Schneier had requested for to play host to a Jewish-Muslim dialogue later this year during the meeting with His Majesty. The objective of the dialogue would be to prove ties between the two faiths. Rabbi Schneier rubbished reports that claimed His Majesty was reaching out to the Jews only to get rid of accusations of religious intolerance made against him. “King Hamad has implemented reforms and reached out to his opponents and tried to help,” he said.
The Bahraini-Jewish community in the country is one of the only Jewish communities in the region. Although there used to be thousands, now there are only four families left here – less than 40 members. Many of them have served at important posts, most notably Nancy Khedoury in the Parliament and Houda Nonoo as Kingdom’s Ambassador to the US.