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‘Bahrain … Symbol of tolerance in Mideast’

BRUSSELS, June 3, (KUNA): The European Parliament’s Vice President Antonio Tajani has described Bahrain as a symbol of tolerance in the Middle East. Bahrain is “a symbol of tolerance and cooperation between Europe and the Middle East,” Tajani told a gathering of religious leaders, academics, legislators, and interested stakeholders from the Arab world and Europe during a debate held on Bahrain’s efforts in promoting religious freedom and inter-communal dialogue. “Religions are basis for solutions through dialogue. We need to work together for this goal.”

Undersecretary for international affairs in the ministry of foreign affairs in Bahrain Dr Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa stressed that all communities, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and others are living in peaceful coexistence since centuries in Bahrain.

“Freedom of religion is not a new concept in Bahrain,” he said and noted that there is no discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnicity in his country. He said Bahrain is “a shining example of peaceful coexistence in a region of tensions” and noted that the history has been distorted by some ill-mannered extremists. He announced the formation of a Bahraini friendship group in the EP.

Meanwhile, Bahraini scholar Sheikh Mohammad Mahdi Al Zuhairi said the religious communities in Bahrain enjoy their full religious and political rights in the country in security and peace under the leadership of King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.

Religious tolerance and in Bahrain is not born out of current circumstances or crisis but it is a tradition since thousands of years, he said. Representatives of Christian, Jewish, Bahai and Hindu communities also addressed the meeting saying that Bahrain has become a model of promoting and protecting religious freedom, pluralism and tolerance. Bahrain’s Ambassador to the EU Dr Bahiya Al Jishi, the GCC ambassador to the EU Amal Al Hamad and other MEP’s also addressed the meeting.

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