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’.