EP Seminar highlights “Religious pluralism and tolerance in the Kingdom of Bahrain”
On June 1, 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain in cooperation with the European Parliament held a seminar at EU Parliament headquarters in Brussels titled “Religious pluralism and tolerance in the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
The seminar was held under the joint auspices of Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Parliament in charge of dialogue among religions, and MP Ivo Vajgl, Head of the Group of Friends of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Undersecretary for International Affairs, Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, spoke at the event, which was also attended by Dr. Bahiya Al-Jishi, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union, as well as a number of MPs and officials at the European Parliament.
Other speakers participated from the Kingdom of Bahrain representing various religions and groups who testified to their personal experiences of religious freedom, tolerance and co-existence within the Bahraini community.
In a statement on the occasion, the Undersecretary pointed to Bahrain as model of respectful coexistence among religions, buffered by government support and guaranteed by the national constitution and laws for all citizens and residents. The Kingdom has largely managed to avoid sectarian and religion-based conflicts plaguing the region and indiscriminately assures everyone can practice their rituals and beliefs freely and enjoy their rights regardless of faith or creed.
Bahraini citizens of different faiths, be they Christians, Jewish or Baha’i, are an integral part of the national fabric of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” said the Undersecretary for International Affairs, adding that people from all communities without distinction have contributed to the building of the nation and enrichment of its history. They have successfully served the Kingdom in various positions thanks to their dedication and patriotism. This along with an open government and Bahraini community assures mutual acceptance and renunciation of all forms of extremism, racism and hatred.
The European Parliament’s Vice President Antonio Tajani affirmed the need for more cooperation at the political level and a concerted fight against extremism and hatred, valuing Bahrain’s efforts in this regard. He asserted his support for marketing Bahrain’s experience as a unique example for European institutions to learn from.
MP Ivo Vajgl honored Dr. Shaikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, noting the efforts exerted by the Kingdom of Bahrain to reinforce interaction with the European Union and promote a culture of religious pluralism and tolerance.