Thousands in Bahrain sign petition for peace
Manama, July 26, 2013
Diplomats and top officials have joined thousands of people in Bahrain in signing a petition which aims to show the majority of citizens and residents are against street violence, a report said.
The Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA) hopes to collect 100,000 signatures as part of the drive, according to the report in the Gulf daily News, our sister publication.
It comes in the wake of a car bombing near a mosque in West Riffa last Wednesday.
No one was injured, but police and political leaders said it indicated an increase in violence and attempts to divide Sunnis and Shi'ites.
MPs, religious leaders and representatives of political societies also attended a BFEA meeting last Sunday to discuss the future of Bahrain.
Street violence was unanimously condemned during the event, entitled Bahrain, Where Do We Stand Now?
Around 2,000 people have already signed the petition, including high-profile figures such as Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro, Malaysian Ambassador Ahmad Shahizan Abd Samad and Sri Lankan Ambassador Anura Rajakaruna.
BFEA secretary-general Betsy Mathieson said the petition, calling for peace and prosperity, aims to bring together Bahrainis and expats and is due to be officially launched in the next few weeks.
"We're currently finalising the logistic details about where to have it," she said. “We are thinking of having it in shopping malls and universities. We're also looking at an online solution, but we have had people tell us that they want to physically sign the petition and show their patriotism."
Mathieson said the petition was not an attempt to be political and merely aimed to achieve peace.
"I think that the secret to the way forward is to unite Bahrainis and expats," she said.
"We want to show that the great majority of people in Bahrain support peace and want a stop to this violence. It is a very small minority committing these acts and that wants to see Bahrain in a state of turmoil. The vast majority of people, both Shia and Sunni, want peace."
Mathieson stressed that despite Bahrain's perception in the foreign media, people here are united.
"International media are still reporting that the majority are behaving like this and it's not true," she said.
"The majority want peace and prosperity and for Bahrain to return to a haven of mutual respect and tolerance. One of the great areas of success in Bahrain is that it has a multicultural society. We can live here side by side, and there are not many places in the world where that is possible.
"Let's be honest, when we stop violence and have peace on the streets, it will be much easier to restore the economy. It is vital for everyone's interest.
"I believe that once the violence has stopped, the economy won't just be stable, but skyrocket. I have spoken to businessmen, and they have big plans and projects that have been put on hold. When the violence stops, they will forge ahead and we will see a booming economy." – TradeArabia News Service