March 11, 2004


Mahmood -- take his challenging quiz! -- explains Bahrain, which sounds more tolerant than some European countries:

It might interest you to know however that Bahrain is the only country in the Arabian Gulf which has an indiginous Jewish population. They are a few for sure, but they have been living here for tens if not hundreds of years. They are full integrated within the society and some their businesses are right in the center of town. They do not suffer any intimidations, nor anti-semitisms. Likewise we also have christian and hindu Bahrainis and they too live in peace.

Bahrain has been and will continue to be a religious tolerant country. For instance the Jews do have their own Synagogue, the varioua sects of Christianity have their own churches and even a couple of cathedrals, and the hindus have their temples.

More important than the religious aspect however, Bahrain has the only Jewish MP in our parliament as well as the only lady Christian MP. This is the Bahraini parliament I'm talking about. This is a first in the Gulf. So you will see that we live quite happily together. To us, it is being a Bahraini first and its completely up to you to worship whichever god you choose.

Iíve got to visit Bahrain one day.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 11, 2004 11:25 PM

They are so progressive that Israelis and people who have visited Israel are barred from entering the country.

Posted by: anon at March 11, 2004 at 11:27 PM

'Progress' is a relative term. They haven't tried to destroy Israel lately have they? No. A curse on your moustache.

Posted by: Amos at March 12, 2004 at 12:19 AM

His description of goading his son into describing his sex education class to the extended family was one of the best comedy-of-manners writing I'd seen in a while.

Posted by: Andrew at March 12, 2004 at 12:43 AM

You anonymous types might want to do a bit of fact-checking. You're mixing Bahrain with Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Rick C at March 12, 2004 at 01:58 AM

Whoops, my bad. I should fact-check myself, I was thinking of something else.

Posted by: Rick C at March 12, 2004 at 01:58 AM

Actually, most Arab and Muslim countries bar Israelis and people who visited Israel.
Saudia Arabia is the one that bars all JEWS.

Posted by: maor at March 12, 2004 at 02:36 AM

Bahrain is good because you can drink there - unlike Kuwait and Saudi. But apparently Dubai is the shiznit as far as gulf states go.

Posted by: Kevin at March 12, 2004 at 04:29 AM

Manama and Dubai aren't bad (as Gulf States go, anyway), but unless things have changed dramatically in the last ten years they're a long, long way from ever hosting a "Wild On..." episode.

Posted by: Lawrence at March 12, 2004 at 05:42 AM

Tim, you should visit Bahrain. A very interesting place and absolutely the most religiously tolerant country in the Middle East, including Israel.

Maor may wish to update his information, or check his sources for agenda-grinding axes. An idiot in the Saudi Dept. of Tourism put his personal wishes--strongly anti-semitic--on the Dept's web page. As soon as it was spotted, it was taken out and official policy restated. In my years living in Saudi Arabia, I've always come into contact with Jews, American, European, Australian, even Chinese. But the Saudis certainly have a problem with Israelis, both Jewish and Christian, not to mention Muslim Israelis.

Posted by: Hatcher47 at March 12, 2004 at 06:42 AM

Wow Saudi arabia must be... some kind of.. I don't know, paradise? Is paradise too strong a word!?

You'll be happy to know, Hatcher, that we're getting a little of that Saudi goodwill here in Australia. Saudi money is beginning to turn up in some of our local Mosques, and people are already getting more tolerant!

Posted by: Amos at March 12, 2004 at 08:31 AM

You can pack your bags and go all the way to Tel Aviv, for all I care.

Posted by: Craig G at March 12, 2004 at 10:38 AM

I spent a good deal of time in Bahrain during the run-up to the first Gulf War while i was in the US Navy. You want to test the tolerance of a people? Let a boatload of squids come to town

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and found Bahraini's (is that proper?) to be quite nice and open minded. In fact, i'd really like to visit again. Some of my most positive memories are from Bahrain.

You can drink there as well, which must be why it is so amazingly popular with Saudi's.

It was in part due to my experiences in Bahrain that i became convinced that it wasn't Arab culture, but Islamofascism that is pushing the middle east back in time.

Posted by: mark nelson at March 12, 2004 at 11:43 AM

If you're Jewish, you don't get to attend the Grand Prix.

Posted by: Paul Johnson at March 12, 2004 at 11:53 AM

I spent a good deal of time in Bahrain during the run-up to the first Gulf War while i was in the US Navy.

Yep, it probably helps that the U.S. 5th Fleet is based there. :)

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at March 13, 2004 at 08:41 AM