Shura Council member, Dr. Mohammed Ali Al-Khuzaai, who is also the member of the Board of Trustees of the Isa Cultural Centre, has stressed that Bahrain has been known for openness and tolerance since ancient history, noting that trade and the country’s geographical localtion during the Dilmun Civilisation had contributed to making it a meeting point for ancient civilisations, regardless of their origins, beliefs and belonging, to communicate and interact.
Dr. Khuzaai was speaking while delivering a lecture themed ‘Bahrain the Island of Tolerance’ at the Jabiri Majlis in Jasra.
Attended by the Board of Trustees Chairman of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Co-existence, Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, intellectuals and the Majlis visitors, the lecture aims to promote national efforts to spread the values of toleance and co-existence among various social segments.
The lecturer reviewed the historical facts pertaining to the roots of tolerance and co-existence in Bahrain, noting that Dilmun was given a sacred nature among ancient civilisations, being "the land of immortality", citing the archaeologists’ discovery of the largest cemetery of the ancient world in Bahrain, which explains the resort of many peoples from various civilisations to live in Bahrain until their death.
He also recalled the story of the Sumerian King Gilgamesh and his search for the flower of immortality in Bahrain, and the accounts that indicate that he was among the first to take up diving in Bahrain, and then the islanders inherited this profession over time.
He pointed out that Bahrain has been and still is an oasis of tolerance and religious peace, citing the succession of ancient religions and their peaceful co-existence, the Christian presence in the pre-Islamic era in Bahrain in Al-Dair and Smaheej, living together in harmony with their counterparts from the Awal civilisation. and the peaceful entry of Islam in Bahrain, thus emphasising the tolerant nature of the people of Bahrain.
He added that Manama is a cosmopolitan city where real religious pluralism is already manifested, noting that the followers of all religions and races live there safety and practise their rituals freely and peacefully.
He asserted that he grew up in the heart of Manama and coexisted with his Christian, Hindu, Jewish neighbours, among others, noting that Manama provides compelling evidence of the deep-rooted values of tolerance and coexistence in Bahain.
Dr. Khuzaai affirmed that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa played a key role in strengthening such values and promoting them as part of the national policy emanating from the legacy of the forefathers and ancestors.
He added that HM the King issued the National Action Charter and the Constitution of 2002, whose second chapter guarantees freedoms and equality, which, he said, is reflected in the spread of mosques, churches and other houses of worship across the kingdom, the ethnic diversity, the advancement of women and the delivery of public services to all social segments without discrimination.
He considered the launch of the ‘Declaration of the Kingdom of Bahrain’ and of the establishment of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Co-existence as steps that confirm the kingdom’s distinctive feature as the land of peaceful co-existence.