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No to violence

CLERICS have been urged to stop young people from wreaking havoc on Bahrain's streets during Ramadan.

The situation continues two years after the 2011 unrest and has reached an "alarming" point, said Sunni Islamic Scholar Shaikh Salah Al Jowder.

He urged all mosques, ma'atams and majlises to spread the message of: "No to Violence, no to burning tyres or destroying properties. No to Molotov Cocktails" during the Holy month, which is expected to start tomorrow.

The Muharraq-based cleric's comments come after 19-year-old policeman Yasir Dhaib was killed when a homemade bomb exploded in Sitra on Saturday.

Two other offices suffered multiple injuries in the blast, which happened at 10.16pm when security forces were trying to prevent thugs from attacking Sitra Police Station.

"I condemn the killing of the policeman in Sitra, which is shameful, as it comes days ahead of the Holy month of Ramadan," said Shaikh Al Jowder

"Such acts are against Islamic values and teachings of the Prophet.

"Ramadan is a time to be peaceful and read the Holy Quran. It is not about killing people and indulging in violent acts."

Shaikh Al Jowder urged clerics across the country to advise youth to stay away from the path of violence and be true Muslims.

"Nobody has got anything from violence. Dialogue is the only way forward," he said.

"I request all Shia and Sunni religious leaders to raise this point in their Friday sermon or meetings to stop our youth from going on the wrong path."

His views were echoed by Bahrain Bloc president MP Ahmed Al Sa'ati, who said Ramadan was a time for peace to prevail.

"There are lots of developments happening in the region right now and it is important for us in Bahrain to always be hopeful that the National Dialogue is the only way to solve the problems," he said.

Public Security Chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan last year said policemen were attacked throughout Ramadan by vandals using homemade weapons.

He said that security forces were repeatedly targeted during Iftar and Sahoor times or when they were praying.

Speaking about ongoing street violence, Shaikh Al Jowder said Bahrain was struggling to deal with the "symptoms of a disease".

"There has to be peaceful solution and not violent means or using arms as these are all against local laws," he said.

"One should remember that it is the duty of security forces to maintain law and order."

The MP said clergymen should play a bigger role in helping defuse the situation.

"They can guide the future generation and tell young people not to burn tyres or hurl Molotov Cocktails during Ramadan," he added.

National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) vice-chairman Dr Abdulla Al Deerazi said street violence should be condemned by all sides.

"First of all, we condemn in strongest terms the death of the policeman in Sitra," he said.

"Even policemen have rights like protesters and we call upon all stakeholders to denounce violence. National Dialogue is the only way out."

His Majesty King Hamad last month ratified a law stipulating strict penalty against anyone who incites and commits crimes against a member of the Public Security Forces, Bahrain Defence Force, National Guard and National Security Agency.

They include up to 20 years in jail for those found guilty of inciting hatred against security forces, life sentences for anyone who kills a member of the security services and minimum 10-year jail terms for intentionally causing permanent disability. sandy@gdn.com.bh



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