Mohammed Khalid

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One of Bahrain’s most outspoken Islamist MPs is Sheikh Mohammed Khalid, the Al-Menbar Islamic Society representative from the Northern Governorate. A Sunni Islamist whose party is the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood (Al Eslah Society), Mr Khalid has been a constant critic of government, business leaders and liberals, and the effectiveness of his political campaigns says much about the political process in Bahrain today.

Mr Khalid has used his parliamentary privilege to question government ministers to the full. In the knowledge that a two thirds majority of MPs is enough to remove a minister, Mr Khalid has used the combined Sunni-Shia Islamist majority in the lower house to force the government on to the defensive on issues such as cultural festivals, the sale of alcohol, and foreign policy.

Two notable successes helped set new cultural boundaries in the traditionally liberal state. In October 2003, when they heard that Lebanese singer, Nancy Ajram, was to perform in Bahrain, Mr Khalid along with other Islamists in parliament put forward an emergency motion to ban her concert on the grounds of ‘immorality’. The motion was rejected by parliament, but in the aftermath of the parliamentary outcry youths went on the rampage outside the concert beating up Ajram’s fans and burning cars. While opponents of the concert did not have the parliamentary majority to ban the singer, they showed they could use their parliamentary platform to mobilise the street.<!-- ...
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