What's the Aim behind Canceling Friday Holiday?

2024-01-23 - 6:32 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrain entered into a wide debate following a parliamentary proposal submitted by MP Ali Al-Nuaimi, the son of former Minister Majed Al-Nuaimi, which stipulates that the Friday holiday would be canceled, and the weekend would consist of Saturday and Sunday, with Friday being only half working day, according to the proposal.

The funny thing about the issue is that the proposal was submitted by MP Ali Al-Nuaimi, who is known among citizens as the silent representative, given that he doesn't usually speak out or submit any proposals. In the 2018 Parliament, for a period of 4 years, Al-Nuaimi did not submit a single parliamentary question, nor did he interfere with a comment in any discussion that affected the lives or livelihoods of citizens directly, whether in the case of the unemployed or the issues of imposing taxes and canceling bonuses.

The silent representative reclaimed a seat in the 2022 elections as well and became even more silent. He did not even present or promote an electoral program, and his Twitter (X) account remained inactive, as if he doesn't care about the public at all. Despite this, 2,000 voters from outside the country voted for him, and he won the parliamentary seat again.

Returning to the issue of the Friday holiday cancelation, it seems logical to assume that MP Al-Nuaimi did not put forward this proposal on his own and with his usual extraordinary intelligence, but rather was instructed by the one who gave him the 2000 electoral votes over a year ago and returned him to the parliamentary seat again, but what is the objective of those who stand behind Al-Nuaimi?

So far, we are in the stage of feeling the pulse, and the proposal appears to be a test through which the pulse of the public, their reaction, and the extent of their power will be measured. It comes at a time when the ruling family has removed its Arab and Islamic garb, and put on a Zionist one after its normalization with the Israeli entity, and its insisting on maintaining this position with the recent Gaza war. As for why, this is due to several reasons, the most important of which are as follows:

Though this step, if it is to be passed, this influential party, which is the Royal Court of course, wants to weaken the actual role of the Friday platform, which it has always fought. It has also restricted citizens with the aim of preventing them from interacting with it.

Going back to the past years, we can do a quick scan, which will allow us to see hundreds of summonses for Friday preachers and dozens of arrests among them (some of whom imprisoned more than once), as well as other practices, most notably the closing of the roads leading to the central prayer held at the Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in Diraz more than once, and the targeting of the Shiite sect's most important figure (Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim), by revoking his citizenship and besieging him, leading to his exile from the country.

The Friday platform, which the authorities are trying to target today, has always been a cause of headaches for the regime. It has been a major reason for spreading awareness among citizens about various significant and crucial issues, and its importance has increased exponentially since the events that took place in the 1990s, becoming the mouthpiece and expression of citizens' concerns, and a thorn in the regime's eye whenever it "crosses a line or commits a violation".

The Royal Court also aims behind this proposal to end the state of ongoing opposition which it failed to put an end to despite all the measures taken. The issue of normalization, for example, and the issue of joining the American coalition recently in the aggression against Yemen, was protested by citizens in massive marches that followed Friday prayers in various regions of Bahrain.

If the authorities are able to weaken the public attendance at Friday prayers, they will be able to curb any manifestations of opposition to any upcoming step, and thus eliminate the remaining movements opposing the authorities that they have worked towards eliminating over the past 13 years.

Of course, the regime is trying to suggest that this proposal does not aim to influence the observance of Friday rituals, and that it is ready to give half of Friday off to citizens, but everyone knows that the private sector will not comply with that, which actually means depriving all workers in the private sector of the chance of participating in Friday prayers or the activities that follow it, which is the actual goal behind this proposal.

The announced stance of Sheikh Al-Sadadi, who clearly opposed this proposal, is what all citizens should reiterate. The categorical rejection of such a proposal today is paramount. What the regime could not obtain previously with tanks and armored vehicles in the streets should not be obtained today through the proposals of the silent MP and the likes of him.

Arabic Version