Friday 12th Aug 2016
Bahrain’s political landscape has seen a major improvement two months following the implementation of an amended law that separates politics from the religious platform.
Observers say that Law 12/2016, which was issued by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in June 2016, amending some of the provisions of Law 26/2005 that regulates political societies, has solved the problems that resulted from the protests of February 2011.
The amended law regulated the procedures needed to form political bodies and the choice of political leaders, who must not be engaged in giving religious speeches, sermons or guidance, even without remuneration.
The law also stipulated how a political society may carry out its activities, organize the relationship among its members on a democratic basis, determine the political, financial and administrative prerogatives of its organs and leaders and ensure the highest levels of democratic discussions.
The amendment banned the simultaneous membership in a political society and engagement in religious preaching, guidance or speeches. Combining religious preaching and membership in a political society was banned by the law.
The protests that broke out in February 2011 were mainly driven by sectarianism, as protesters demanding political reforms quickly raised calls to overthrow the regime.
Since then, political authorities in Bahrain have been insisting on banning political sermons by religious figures. Within this context, the Kingdom’s Public Prosecution detained on Sunday a religious cleric over a sermon in which he criticized the country’s constitutional regime.
Last May, Bahrain’s parliament voted in favor of a new legislation that bans political activities in the religious platform and vice-versa. This move was aimed at limiting religious influence over political work.
Bahraini political analysts say the new legislation also protects religious authorities from internal political bickering.
Last month, a judicial court in Bahrain ordered the country’s Al-Wefaq opposition group to be dissolved. The group was accused of threatening peace and national security.