Al- Jodar Supports Regulations on Religious Discourse

Shaikh Salah Al Jodar has praised the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs for its regulation of religious discourse, and has also criticised some mosques for not adhering to their intended purpose of providing guidance and spreading the message of Islam. Because some mosques have become monopolized by specific groups, and others have even become centres for inciting sectarian hatred, the Ministry has ordered a restriction on religious discourses in order to rationalize them and encourage moderate ones, based on the equality of peoples in their rights and obligations.

He adds 'we need to restrain mosques so that they do not produce individuals inciting violence and anarchy, for I swear by Allah that nothing has weakened and degraded this Ummah more than the support for terror, disrespect and denigration of the ‘other’ emanating from such mosques. For this we demand that regulations on religious discourse are put into place with the participation of those concerned with religious issues.'

On the other hand, Bahraini MP Haider Al-Setri has strongly criticised the Ministry's order saying that sectarian discourses are very often tolerated in the country, and that the Government has failed to take sufficient measures against those who adopt discourses of terror and incite sectarian hatred. He also regarded the imprisonment of some individuals for a mere few days as inadequate, stressing that the Constitution includes sufficient rules to regulate religious discourse, and that there is no need for further orders which he believes are in contradiction with the Constitution. At the same time some Shia leaders have issued a statement opposing the Ministry's decision to regulate religious activity.

In its order, the Ministry of Justice had prohibited the politicization of speeches in mosques, and encouraged respect of the principles of citizenship, coexistence, and human rights which are in accordance with Islam as well as international conventions. It also called for the respect of religious diversity, the ‘other’ and in particular, public figures and institutions, and urged individuals to avoid extremism and refrain from incitement in the issuing of religious rulings which label others as ‘infidels’ or ‘degenerates’.