The constant struggle

Bahrain enjoys relative political freedom for a Middle Eastern nation and the blogosphere has exploded accordingly. Political punditry is now common. Take the example of Mahmood Al-Yousif:

“Shops, restaurants, coffee houses, garages and other workshops could be forced by law to close for two hours for Friday prayers, if MPs get their way. Those caught opening from 11am to 1pm on Fridays would be fined or their establishments closed for a week, under proposals backed by parliament yesterday.

“Petrol stations could also be closed under the proposed new law, which will now be submitted to the Cabinet.

“MPs said the proposal was in keeping with what is written in the Quran.”

The news does not make the blogger happy:

“Can anyone suggest a country I might consider emigrating to that will allow me just to live my life without anyone imposing their interpretation of whatever religion on me and my family? A country that is tolerant that might appreciate its citizens and protect their freedoms, rather than one whose parliament has made it its mandate to rule by and from pulpits?”

Very few Middle Eastern countries would even allow a discussion about the role of Islam in government and society and yet Western media prefers to classify the “Arab world” as a homogenous mass.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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