Bahrain's religious tolerance on show  

By Ahmed Al Omari

BAHRAIN's religious tolerance was showcased in a unique multi-faith gathering last night - in which a Christian church hosted a ghabga to celebrate Ramadan.

The event was organised by the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA) at the Sacred Heart Church, Manama.

Members of Bahrain's diverse expatriate communities attended, representing a broad spectrum of religions.

They were joined by chief guest His Majesty King Hamad's representative for charity work and youth affairs Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, government officials and diplomats.

"Tonight is a truly historic occasion," said BFEA secretary-general Betsy Mathieson.

"For the first time ever, our communities are all gathered here together, in the presence of His Majesty's representative in Bahrain's oldest Catholic Church, on the 10th night of Ramadan, Islam's most holy month, to celebrate our freedom of religion and to share this blessing with each other.

"Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jews, a truly global congregation, all together under one roof - celebrating as one family, sharing our beliefs, our cultures and love."

The free event was held under BFEA's "This is Bahrain" banner, which was launched during an event in London in May to showcase Bahrain's tolerance of all nationalities, cultures and religions.

It was designed to celebrate freedom of religion in Bahrain and the one family spirit that has enabled all faiths and nationalities to live together in peace and harmony for centuries.

Heart

The location was strategically picked as it is situated right in the heart of Manama, close to Sunni mosques, Shia ma'atams, Hindu temples, a Jewish synagogue and Christian churches.

"Inside the walls of these houses of worship you will find Indians, Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Thais, Americans, Bahrainis, British, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, French, Lebanese, Nepalese and Canadians exercising their right to worship unhindered - this is Bahrain," said Ms Mathieson. [email protected]


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