Sheikh Ali from prison: the spirit of love and fraternity motivates our movement for legitimate demands

SHAFAQNA –  Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, issued the following statement from his prison cell on Thursday 26th March 2015:

“In the name of God,

Our demand for humanity, freedom and legitimate and necessary rights is a duty we stand under our religion and humanitarian conscience and the international bill for human rights which Bahrain became part of through its membership in the United Nations. Furthermore, it is our duty under the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights which Bahrain is signatory to.

I am absolutely convinced that my people’s cause is a just one, and my God is happy with my people’s struggle to achieve these legitimate and humanitarian demands. I rely on Allah in the continuation of my activism and my peaceful efforts to achieve equality, justice and redistribution between the citizens of my country. I do this so my people to be able to manage their state’s legislative and executive affairs in a constitutional democratic monarchy like the world democracies.

I am calling for the spirit of love for others to be the motive for our legitimate and necessary rights, and not the spirit of hate, even if they disagreed with and oppressed us. Fraternity between religions, nations and humanity entails that we carry this spirit of love that all monotheistic religions agree on. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them) all brought good and love to their nations who fought them, but they did not abandon this spirit, until God did them justice, and He is the almighty.

I have no doubt that the demands of the democratic opposition groups included in the Manama Document and mentioned in the opposition’s dialogues with the Authority are in line with democratic entitlement. My people’s demands are summarized as follows:

To elect their own parliament that is authorized to monitor and legislate laws without an assigned council acting on top of it. To elect their own government that stands on elections based on equality between citizens’ voices. And should any side object to these demands, they shall not be considered unjust. Also, unhelpful circumstances are no excuse to consider the people’s demands as unjust.

In fact, because our demands are clearly rightful, the King of Bahrain admitted they are just in the article he wrote in the Washington Times. The Crown Prince also admitted this several times. Even those who oppose these demands do know, deep inside, that they are legitimate and rightful.

A rational and humanitarian view would only conclude that this matter is not related to a conflict, but in fact, these demands have become, by the days and with the humanitarian developments, a necessity for Bahrain’s stability and real development. Nevertheless, hindering and rejecting these demands represents a destruction of the country, today and tomorrow, because stubbornness and biasness serves individuals and small factions on the expense of the nation.

Thus, I believe that demanding these rights and seeking to achieve them on ground is every citizen’s national duty. We will not stop raising these demands, whether we are a political majority or minority.

We did not call for a religious state, we called for a system similar to what our brothers in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon have reached, for instance. We are demanding a civil democratic state that protects rights and duties that cannot be expropriated by reason of religion, ethnicity, color or family. A state that respects every citizen’s religion and sect, and protects his/her right to practice religious rituals and worship in absolute freedom. Such states that saw practical success in democracy, whether a republic or monarchy, and provided stability, are what we are seeking for our country and people.

I am announcing to my people, that we are demanding our right to choose our government and prime minister and parliament that enjoys full legislative and monitoring powers. I believe that we must continue to raise these demands within the regulations, laws and conventions signed by Bahrain and by which were made part of the national law that the authority must respect in freedom of association and assembly. Those implementing the law must not take measures that violate these international conventions and laws.

My great and free people, walk in the path of your legitimate demands while sticking to the peaceful movement and God shall be victorious to you. You will certainly achieve a free and dignified life in a system which all factions in the country agree on.”

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