Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why Jews Can Never Return to Bahrain


The Monarch of Bahrain has issued an invitation for all the Jews to return. This sounds very kind, right?

This sounds like the man really likes the Jews, and it sounds as if he is so magnanimous!

The truth couldn't be farther from what you think.

I had friends who used to live in Bahrain. They told me there is a luxury hotel there that had to be abandoned right after it was built. Why? Because it doesn't have two elevators--one for men and one for women. The man's wife could not be outside without an escort and she couldn't drive.

Sound familiar? A little like Afghanistan under the Taliban?

The entire country is steeped in radical Islamic beliefs and practices, and an invitation to Jews to come back does not and cannot contain any hope for Jews to remain free to worship as they wish, raise their children Jewish, or any number of things we would assume might be the case.

This essay, written anonymously by a writer who is intimately aware of the situation, is a wake-up call to any Jew who thinks kindly about the King of Bahrain's offer--including the Chabad Rabbi who blessed him recently.

The offer is like the offer of a spider to a fly. Don't get caught up, and don't bless those who would curse you.


Why Jews Can Never Return to Bahrain
By Mr. X

Bahrain is a small island in the Persian Gulf which is known to have had a population of Jews long before Islam was conceived. In modern times, Jews had settled in Bahrain after emigrating from Iraq, Iran and India. Bahrain was occupied by the British from 1820-1970. Oil was discovered in 1932 and brought rapid modernization to Bahrain, taking the locals from living under black goat-skin tents to modern super-luxury homes in only a matter of decades.

Over 600 Jews lived on the island of Bahrain before 1948, however, the status of Jews in Arab countries worsened dramatically as many Arab countries declared war, or backed the war against the newly founded State of Israel. Jews were either uprooted from their countries of longtime residence or became subjugated, political hostages of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In virtually all cases, as Jews left the country, individual and communal properties were confiscated without compensation.

Arab anti-Jewish hatred simmered. Jews in Bahrain suffered when crowds looted synagogues, homes and shops and assaulted any Jews they could locate. A few years later, Jews suffered again. In his book The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times, Prof. Norman Stillman published a letter sent (1947) from Bahrain to the Jewish Agency for Palestine in Jerusalem, where an eyewitness said he had seen, “atrocities of the worst nature” and “very cruel acts” which were perpetuated against Jewish women in Bahrain.

The man indicated the Jews of Bahrain found themselves “helpless in spirit [and] broken in hearts not knowing when the tragic and barbarous [sic] atrocities will be repeated.”

In August 2008, the king of Bahrain said he would facilitate the return of Jewish expatriates through restored citizenship and land offers, he wants his Jews to come back home. Yet, one needs to look no further that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain which was adopted on February 14, 2002, to see that Jews returning to Bahrain would be subject to Islamization.

The Preamble to the Constitution of Bahrain states that citizens will “believe that Islam brings salvation in this world and the next” and that citizens will declare “their adherence to Islam as a faith" and that the “Qur'an has been remiss in nothing."

But what does the Qur'an say about non Muslims:

Qu'ran 5:51 O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is one of them. Lo Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

Qur'an 33:26 Allah made the Jews leave their homes by terrorizing them so that you killed some and made many captive. And He made you inherit their lands, their homes, and their wealth.

Article 2 of the Constitution stated that: Islamic Shari'a (strict Islamic law) is a “principal source” for legislation in the country.

Article 7 of the Constitution indicates that: while “individuals and bodies may establish private schools,” they must be under the supervision of the State and in accordance with the law. Since the law in Bahrain is developed under Shari'a, and that Shari'a mandates only Islam be taught, Jews would not be allowed to open Jewish schools, but all Jewish children would be indoctrinated-by law-under Islam.

Article 23 of the Constitution states that: while everyone has the “right to express his opinion and publish it by word of mouth,” this is only allowed so if those opinions if the “fundamental beliefs of Islamic doctrine are not infringed.”

Article 24 of the Constitution states that: there is “freedom of the press,” however, it also stipulates that this is “guaranteed under the rules and conditions laid down by law” – but the law in Bahrain is governed under Shari'a through the Qur'an!

Jews returning to Bahrain would be subject to Islamization and forced to adhere and be subjective to Shari'a law. Shari'a indicates that when necessary, violence is acceptable—as a matter of fact, to achieve the dominance of Shari'a worldwide is obligatory; this use of force or war is termed Jihad.

Article 30 of the Constitution mandates that: all citizens serve in the Bahrain military, because “defense is a sacred duty.” Yet, this would mean that Jews returning to Bahrain would be mandated to serve in the army and be ready to fight their fellow Jews from Israel. The government of Bahrain hates Israel, plain and simple.

It refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Israel and remains loyal to the pan-Arab fight against Israel. Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmad al-Khalifa won't even acknowledge Israel as a country, and in November 2008 called the Jewish homeland a "Zionist entity," the same phrase used by members of Hamas, Fatah and Al-Qaeda.

What would life be like for Jewish people who moved back to Bahrain? -- Which is essentially an enemy of the Jewish state? –What would life be like for Jews that would be around Arabs whose daily prayer book includes the statements:

Qur'an 4:55 Sufficient for the Jew is the Flaming Fire!

Qur'an 5:42 They [Jews] are fond of listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden; they are greedy for illicit gain!

Qur'an 5:42 They are fond of listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden; they are greedy for illicit gain!

Qur'an 8:39 So, fight them till all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam.

About three dozen Jews remain in Bahrain. Almost all are not religious and none can visit Israel, for Bahrain has no diplomatic relationship with Israel.

The modern Bahrainian Jews are doing what the Moroccan Jews did and the Iranian Jews do, they are bowing down to their Islamic masters.

In addition, as a Jewish person from the Americas or Europe, you are not allowed to visit the country, as Jews are not allowed to enter. Thus, the entire idea of Bahrain allowing Jews to re-settle there, after being ran out of the land by fanatical Arab mobs, is just another political ploy.

Mr. X works as a professional in the field of refugee relations.


  1. Hi Michelle
    Thanks v. much for alerting me to this article - I'll post a link to my weblog tomorrow.
    My own take is that the King is acting in good faith - friends of mine from Bahrain say that the royal family have had always had excellent relations with the Jews, were deeply upset at the 1947 riots and offered them compensation. But Mr X is right to point to the onward march of Islamisation in Bahrain, and it must be remembered that the King's position as a minority Sunni in a sea of Shi'as is increasingly tenuous.

  2. Hi!
    I've been to Bahrain in 2001. It was the beginning of the process that lead to 2002 constitution.

    There was, on the streets, women all covered and there was different places for men and women on Mosques. Although, in hotels or restaurants or malls, there was no division, men and women could be at the same places, could talk to each other, and so on. They could drive cars and were allowed to walk alone on the streets, dressed in Western way and so on.

    It is really hard to believe the raison for the hotel to be closed was the lack of an elevator for each gender, as if there was a law saying this is necessary. It is too vague to mention friends of yours without including the hotel name, the date and so on. Far from saying it is not the truth, I guess the hotel might have had problems to host Saudi Arabia’s millionaire tourists. I am suggesting financial problems, caused by patriarcalism and fundamentalism from those guests.

    I also might remember that one of the sources of tourism in the island is the alcoholic and sexual tourisms (Saudis who go there to drink, because it is forbidden in their birth country, or hiring prostitutes). This would be bad enough, I am sure, but also happens in lots of other countries. So, without more information, it would not be a good way of disqualifying the hole place.

    About Qu'ran quotations, as every piece of text out of its context, it might allow people to have different points of view about it. Or else, how to explain Jews have lived normally in the Middle West until 1948? If they could live and establish social relation with local people, it mean the interpretations of this excerpt of Qu'ran was not as literal as suggested. Again, it does not mean there was no prejudice against Jews in Bahrain (or any other Arab country) before that.

    The second thing I would like to highlight is the huge difference between groups of fanatics acting violently and an official policy, stated by laws or by non repression of violent acts. Why not quote article 18? “People are equal in human dignity, and citizens are equal before the law in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination among them on the basis of sex, origin, language, religion or creed.”

    Bahrain is a dictatorship, with some levels of freedom of speech and some freedom of assembly. So, compare it to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan is unfair. It does not mean there are no fundamentalists living there. It is also a country that has much more sympathy from US (and also a military bases) than others. I believe they want to make the country look like more progressive than it is.

    Mr. X wants to make Bahrain seems a religious dictatorship trying to attract Jews to some kind of trap. On doing so, he says no country could change its position about refugees, for example, even knowing it is a human right. By extension, Israel should not recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to come back (ok, now, I can be overreacting).

    Sorry for the giant comment.

  3. (possible repost: My browser died after posting the comment, and I don't know if it got through).

    Jews returning to Bahrain would be subject to Islamization and forced to adhere and be subjective to Shari'a law.

    This caught my eye:

    It may be true of Bahrain, but it's false of Shari'a.

    Shari'a indicates that when necessary, violence is acceptable—as a matter of fact, to achieve the dominance of Shari'a worldwide is obligatory; this use of force or war is termed Jihad.

    That's just blatantly false.

    I couldn't bother reading the rest.

    Rather than try to engage in a dialog with the Bahrainis on this matter, you tacitly declare their motives as being insincere.

    Perhaps there is plenty of bias against Jews in Bahrain. But it's also evident from your post that there are others (including perhaps Jews) who want to ensure the status quo remains. I congratulate you in playing a role in causing more divisions between the Arabs and the Jews. It's a division that is being enforced by both parties.

  4. People seem to have missed a small fact that it is in the CONSTITUTION of Baharain that people coming there must abide by Islamic standards.

    Poor dhimmis, still brainwashed after all these years.


  5. People seem to have missed a small fact that it is in the CONSTITUTION of Baharain that people coming there must abide by Islamic standards.

    Which includes, BTW, freedom of worship for Jews and allows them to have their own civil laws (for marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc). I'm referring to "Islamic standards" - not the Bahraini constitution.

    This discussion is going to get very circular. Someone will point out flaws in the constitution. When that gets rectified, they'll say "Well, but in practice, in Bahrain...". When its shown in practice that these issues are rare or aren't, the appeal will return to issues in the constitution. It's the standard reality vs theory argument - with the one intent on criticizing-no-matter-what continually jumping from one to the other.

    Bahrain's no paradise. And no country is consistent in its set of beliefs and values. One of the (no doubt many) problems with the article is that it expects Bahrain to be such - thus using a different standard for Bahrain as they would some "neutral" country.

    If you wish to cite discrimination against Jews/non-Muslims in Bahrain, by all means do so - it's perfectly fair. It simply seems to me that the author of the article inverted the whole problem: An Arab leader made friendly overtures to Jews, and so I must find every means possible to undercut his efforts.


Please do not use comments to personally attack other posters.