29th Jul, 2013 –

For the first time in history the entire National Assembly in Bahrain convened on July 28, 2013 following a request by the Parliament. The National Assembly mainly comprises of both houses of Parliament; the Consultative and Representative Council.

The main objective of the exclusive session was to discuss the recent incidents of terrorism across the Kingdom. The eighty members, half of whom are elected by the people and the other appointed by the King, have come out with a set of recommendations following the escalation of violence from militant opposition groups some of which are known to be linked to and trained by Hezbollah.

Following the unrest a number of initiatives, such as the first and second National Dialogue, were taken by the leadership to bring stability to the country, promote reform and meet the legitimate demands of those people who took to the streets in early 2011.

However, some Dialogue participants have showed a lack of responsibility towards the former dialogue and the current one. The main opposition party, Al Wefaq Islamic Society, withdrew from the first Dialogue in 2011 and is currently participating in the Dialogue while still supporting protests that usually end with violence and disruption.

During the past two years Bahrain has witnessed hundreds of attacks on schools, exploitation of children in villages by arming them with Molotov cocktails and putting them in the forefront of face-offs with police as part of the culture of martyrdom, which is popular amongst some radical groups of the opposition.

The opposition has condemned the National Assembly session by stating that it is another step to tighten security measures against protests. It is clear that the opposition believes that these protests are peaceful despite the continuous violence and terror acts of protesters who have created a negative climate in the country.

The recommendations of the National Assembly include the following:

·      Revoking the citizenship of any individual who incites violence and promotes terrorism, or is involved in such acts;

·      Harsher sentences for those involved in terrorist activities;

·      A ban on protests in central Manama, the financial district of Bahrain;

·      Rehabilitation of youth exploited for different crimes;

·      Further support for serious dialogue;

·      Affirming that freedom of expression cannot be violated;

·      Preserving human rights,

·      Implementing all laws related to combating violence and terrorism;

·      Addressing issues in a moderate manner that can serve social cohesion and reconciliation;

·      Warning foreign Ambassadors against intervening in Bahrain’s local affairs.

The main outcomes of the historic National Assembly session, which was decided by people’s representatives, mainly aim at stabilizing the country and meeting the aspiration of Bahrainis who are fed up with the daily vandalism, violence and acts of terror – recently including the bombing of a car next to a mosque.

It is certainly a necessity to implement the law and take preventive measures to bring an end to terrorism and stop the expansion of militant groups, which could lead the country to civil war. We pray for a Bahrain with no extremism, terrorism, violence and sectarianism.

We hope that opposition groups acknowledge the outcomes of this session, as it serves the good of the nation as a whole and also hope that the Government, dialogue participants and MPs show more commitment to implementing these recommendations, which could help bring our country back to normal.

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