Editor’s Policy Analysis: Demographic Warfare
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Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Editor’s Policy Analysis: Demographic Warfare


Spectators of the Arab Spring (in general) and Bahrain’s chapter (more specifically) tend to expend their intellectual energies attempting to depict the symptoms of spasmodic violence while simplifying, exaggerating or omitting root causes from public discourses.1 It seems that the international public prefers visualising – and reporting on – political violence; or rather violent acts carried out in the name of politics instead of the more mundane, but certainly more important, lines of argumentation which ostensibly drive the engines of upheaval.

This analysis focuses on one of the most explosive dynamics currently unfolding in Bahrain; demography. Within such a highly charged environment, two main demographic arguments are being advanced: first, that in Bahrain the demographics favour the Shia population while national power favours the Sunni community, and second, the Shia community is disempowered economically; it does not have the same economic rights or employment opportunities as Sunni Bahrainis.

After conducting some eighteen months of field research, it is clear that both lines of argumentation are false and have only served to further polarise Bahraini society and render reaching a negotiated settlement less likely. This work does not venture to answer who is responsible for propagating such disinformation about Bahrain and neither does it suggest a motive. Instead, this analysis seeks only to pose a counter argument so that researchers may be able to reach their own conclusions after being presented with two sets of argumentation.

To achieve the objectives of this analysis, two methods are utilised. First, the work presents and critiques the arguments developed by Mansoor Al-Jamri who has been one of the leading proponents of sectarianism and demography in Bahrain’s political situation. Indeed, since Al-Jamri’s works form the basis of a wide spectrum of subsequent research, it is important to investigate the way he derived at his conclusions that the Shia community form the majority of Bahrain’s population. Therefore, the first section challenges Al-Jamri’s propositions and seeks to show a degree of misinformation regarding the demographic situation in Bahrain.

Once this task is achieved, this analysis then turns to investigating the second line of argumentation, which is based on the alleged discriminatory practises of Bahrain’s Sunni political leadership against the Shia community. Again, this line of argumentation is deeply flawed and eighteen months of field work has uncovered a more balanced economic situation in the country then previously assumed.

Let’s Talk About Sects

Despite the oft-quoted “sectarianism” that many associate with Bahrain, honest exploration reveals that, in fact, there are no clear indicators as to religious orientation. This is a unique feature of the country since it is the only state in the wider region which does not ask for religious identification on national censuses. In fact, reflecting on all nine (1941, 1950, 1959, 1965, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2010) of the past censuses leads to the social-scientist question of how to determine the sectarian preferences of the Bahraini population if no official records exist in which sectarian identity is prioritised?

In the existing literature, there is no convincing answer to this question and the deeper the topic is explored the greater the inconsistencies of the answers. However, while most authors simply forgo substantiating the assumed demographic imbalance between Sunnis and Shia, others adopt more bizarre techniques of unofficial “census-taking.”2 Take, for instance, Al-Jamri’s measurement and justification that Bahrain’s population is more than 60% Shia. He argues that while ‘there is no accurate statistics for number of Shia and Sunnis, a closer look at the 2006 election results indicates that around 62% are Shia Muslims.’3

There are, of course, several problems with Al-Jamri’s argument related to arbitrarily connecting votes in favour of a Shia political bloc, such as al Wefaq, with the religious affiliation of the voter; of assuming that all Shia vote only for Shia blocs and, importantly, reflecting on the rationale behind deploying such statistics is suspect. Each of these must be examined in greater detail to falsify such lines of sectarian argumentation and, therefore, show that depictions of Bahrain as a Shia country dominated by a Sunni regime is a dangerous exaggeration meant to further fan the flames of sectarianism and with it mutual recriminations and potential violence.

Regarding the first point, election results are no way to determine the religious beliefs of a population, unless there is the (erroneous) presupposition that only Shia Muslims would be attracted to Shia blocs while Sunni Muslims would only vote for Sunni blocs. Careful inspection of the 2006 elections reveals that cooperative religious voting between the Shia and Sunni communities was not only possible but highly probable given the nature of the three main religious blocs; al Wefaq (Shia bloc), Asalah (Sunni bloc, Salafist) and the al Menbar (Sunni bloc, liberal) as they competed with each other and the two, non- religious blocs, the Democratic and the National Justice blocs.

In the first case, it was apparent in the 2006 campaign that Asalah was at a decisive disadvantage when compared to al Menbar since the latter adopted a more liberal line concerning women’s rights within Bahrain’s socio-political system. Indeed, al Menbar MP, Dr. Ali Ahmed reportedly told the Bahrain Tribune that ‘Granting women their political rights is not against Islamic precepts. Women should be motivated to achieve their aspirations and contribute to the Kingdom’s development.’4 Also, it should be remembered that the ‘al Menbar bloc has [...] backed women’s rights activists’ campaign for the introduction of a unified personal status law, which was vehemently opposed by Shiite Islamists.’5

Not only by Shia Islamists. Asalah too was adamant about the exclusion of women from Bahraini politics and opposed a unified personal status law. Why then, with both the al Wefaq and Asalah (and, in fact al Menbar) wanting to ‘focus on real political and socio- economic issues rather than being distracted by talk of sectarian politics,’6 is it impossible to imagine that Asalah supporters would vote for al Wefaq since ‘both are opponents of what they consider moral laxity and have been ready to join forces in order to campaign together on morality issues.’7 Given that the 2006 elections were conducted by secret ballot, there is no way to ascertain whether those that voted for the al Wefaq were indeed Shia and to infer that they were is an irresponsible manipulation of election statistics.

Furthermore the 2006 elections had a voter turnout of some 72%, a respectable number, but also one which leaves room to interpret since 28% of the electorate are unaccounted for. If Sunni Muslims formed the majority of this twenty-eight percent what impact would it have on Al-Jamri’s statistical assumptions? This problem is compounded when adding the non-religious blocs into the equation. Is it possible that an equal number of Sunni and Shia voted for these, or such numbers could be imbalanced in favour of one group or the other? The same could be said of other communities. Is it impossible that Christian or Jewish or any number of naturalised Bahrainis also voted for al Wefaq? Certainly, these questions are not meant to be answered. They are only intended to challenge the insinuation that support for al Wefaq in the 2006 elections automatically reflects the population of Shia in Bahrain.

A second problem, one which takes a different track to produce the same result in challenging Al-Jamri’s assertions, revolves around the issue of what constitutes a Shia. Since there are no clear indicators that suggest a particular behaviour for all Shia, aside from some religious practises, it is uncertain why Shia must support al Wefaq. Indeed, there are many different Shia groups living in Bahrain such as the Ajam Shia community which serves as a case in point; it is a community of Persian refugees, who fled the turbulence of early twentieth century conflict in Iran, and settled on the Island. They were welcomed and immediately joined in state-building projects while retaining some of the particulars of their Persian heritage. Yet they, as a community, wanted to make a distinction between themselves and other Shia and Persians and hence drew-up a criterion which determines their unique heritage and place within Bahraini society. To belong to the Ajam a person must speak Arabic, be born in Bahrain and belong to a family with at least a fifty year history in Bahrain. In other words, while Ajam Shia may trace their roots to Persia, they must also belong to Bahrain. This may not seem to contradict the argument that Shia comprise around 60% of Bahrain’s political body however, the Ajam are very supportive of the al Khalifa family and are unlikely to vote for Shia revisionist parties, the very same that Al-Jamri and his ilk use to determine the percentage of Shia in Bahrain.8

In fact, the number of Shia may be even more than Al-Jamri suggests; if the Ajam did not vote for al Wefaq in the 2006 elections, then they too are not represented in Al-Jamri’s statistics. However, in a country where religious affiliation is not an essential determining characteristic, the production of such statistics are deeply politicising. They are meant to produce sentiments of wide discrimination, of one community awash in another, not to determine the actual religious make-up of the country.

A third and final problem centres on the point of constructing sectarian indicators to determine who is a Shia and who a Sunni when it is clear, from census statistics, that Bahrainis actually form the minority in the country. In other words, why is it so important for some scholars, the press, activists and wider publics, to highlight that Shia are a majority and Sunnis the minority in a country where both are now in the minority? In fact, al Wefaq and the Shia bloc they represent do not regard the multitude of Indians, Pakistanis, Philippinos, Sri Lankans, not to mention Americans and Europeans who call Bahrain home and, in many cases, retain Bahraini nationality, as actual Bahrainis. Indeed, of the (roughly) three-hundred and fifty thousand Indian expatriates who live in Bahrain – a number alone accounting for some 44% of Bahrain’s total population – nearly one third have, become Bahraini nationals.9 Despite such overwhelming evidence to the contrary, al Wefaq cling to the archaic notion that the Shia constitute a majority; they do not.

The demographic statistics which bounce around scholarship and the international press do not reflect reality; they are produced using whimsical research approaches and have only succeeded in polarising Bahrain’s civil society. Certainly, it is worthwhile to investigate why such loose demographic bookkeeping has been so comprehensively deployed, and absorbed, into regional political discourses though such an analysis falls beyond the scope of this research. For this work, and to return to the first line of argumentation presented above, the claim that Shia Bahrainis consist of the majority and Sunni Bahrainis form the minority is an unqualified assumption and unverifiable.

However, after conducting some eighteen months of field research in Bahrain, I have uncovered an avenue of more accurate demographic accounting: using marriage certificates as a means of determining particular religious orientations since Bahrainis may select to marry in either Shia or Sunni religious institutions. The information which stems from such research is deployed below in a bid to clearly demonstrate that the second line of argumentation – that Shia are underrepresented in Bahrain’s workforce – is equally unsubstantiated.

Demographic Realities in Bahrain

In contrast to the inaccuracies behind the assumption that Shia represents the majority of Bahraini society, there is clear evidence that Shia Bahrainis enjoy the (relatively) equal distribution of economic benefits from many of the country’s key sectors and industries. This section does not seek to demonstrate that either the Shia or the Sunni form the majority of the population; such guesswork is nearly impossible owing to the lack of formalised sectarian accounting. Instead, this section seeks to establish that within the economy of Bahrain, Shia and Sunni are equally represented with the sole exception of Shia-run major businesses where Sunnis are systemically excluded and make up a mere 1.9% of major Shia owned companies (see graphs below).

As noted above, there is one way to determine (with only a small margin of error) whether a Bahraini national is an adherent of the Sunni or Shia denomination; through an inspection of marriage certificates since these are issued by the religious authorities of each denomination. The main problems with this approach are threefold; first many Shia have selected to be married in Sunni courts owing to the newly initiated Family Law which was rejected by al Wefaq (among other Shia theocratic parties and personalities) because it provided too many advantages to women which they argue were anti- Islamic.10 Secondly, even though Bahrain is an Islamic country, it is very tolerant of other religions and of atheists and agnostics. Hence, the second problem is that there may be a misrepresentation of numbers since marrying in either a Sunni or Shia court and being issued with Sunni or Shia documents of marriage does not indicate the level of religious affiliation of an individual and may be more symbolic than practical. Finally, statistics of this nature do not extend to the unmarried or those married outside of Bahrain. Hence, even though the examination of marriage certificates offers greater opportunities to examine the demographics of Bahrain, they remain imperfect.

Yet, in conducting this research, an interesting series of observations were made revolving around the main arguments used by al Wefaq and others to justify their behaviours; namely unemployment and the claimed unfair distribution of wealth and resources. This research was conducted with the sole purpose of investigating the claims that Bahrain’s Shia community is underrepresented and/or excluded from the advanced elements of Bahrain’s economic life. In order to falsify this claim, research was undertaken in four main areas of Bahrain’s economy: government (six ministries and five organisations were selected based on the number of employees), high income specialisation areas (the health sector, finance and accounting, information technologies etc), the private sector (the ten most successful companies in Bahrain were selected for investigation) and the banking sector (the five largest bank, in personnel and financial holdings, were selected for this research). Additionally, explorations were made of the ten largest Shia companies in a bid to show contrast.

Government Ministries and Organisations

For the purpose of this research, six governmental ministries and five organisations were selected to better grasp the sectarian divide between Shia and Sunni Bahrainis. These were selected based on three main criteria: first, that they are considered key agencies for governance and national development, second that the ministries employ more than 1000 people and the organisations employ more than 300 people so that the research is more reflective, and third, for practical reasons, there was wide access to information in these ministries and organisations.

Graph 1. Top Six Government Ministries

Six ministries were investigated for this research, the Ministries of: Education, Health, Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning, Justice and Islamic Affairs, Works and Finance. With the exception of the Ministry of Finance, in all the other ministries, the majority of employed Bahrainis were married in Shia courts and retain Shia affiliation. The numbers are staggering; in the Ministry of Education, for instance, of the total 14536 employees (whose documents were inspected for this research) 9427 were Shia and 5109 were Sunni leading to a 35.1% - 64.9% imbalance in favour of Shia registered employees. The demographic situation in the Ministry of Health is even more staggering since members of the Shia community comprise some 83.4% of the 7407 employees; in Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning Shia make-up 75%, in Works it is 72.1% and in Justice and Islamic Affairs the number sit at 51.7%. For reasons unknown, only the Ministry of Finance sees a significant imbalance with 79.1% of the workforce identified as Sunni. In total, in the six Ministries explored, Shia comprise 68.7% while Sunni hold 31.3% of available positions.

Graph 2. Top Five Government Organisations

In terms of the five government organisations under scrutiny, there is a slight imbalance overall and some more acute imbalances within several such organisations. Again, while it may be difficult to explain why such imbalances occur, it is certain that both communities are represented in government. For instance, Shia representation is highest in the Electricity and Water Authority where they hold 80% of available positions and lowest in the Information Affairs Authority (22.8%). At the Same time, in the University of Bahrain, which employs some 1400 people, balance is nearly struck since Sunni are represented by 53.3% and Shia 46.7% of employees. In total however, despite the underrepresentation in some organisations, the Shia still maintain a greater presence in such organisations than Sunnis the former community is represented in 57.4% while the latter in 42.6% of available positions.

Given the above information – and considering that such situations are likely in the other ministries as well – this analysis concludes that there is no systematic discrimination of Shia in terms of employment as civil servants.

High Income Specialisations

In addition to exploring governmental ministries and organisations, research also turned to some of the more important – and highly paid – specialisations since these have been targeted as ‘closed’ to Shia. Seventeen industries were thus selected in order to determine whether sectarian biases were present. These industries were: Administrative,11 Human Resources, Educational,12 Finance and Accounting, Engineering, Information Technologies, Information and Tourism, Inspection and Quality Control, Secretarial, Soft Sciences,13 Psychology (and Sociology), Nursing, Physicians, Public Health, Pharmaceutics, Physiotherapy and Nutrition and Medical and Laboratory Technicians.

Graph 3. High Income Specialisations – Employee Sectarian Share by Sector

While the above graph indicates the overall sectarian distribution among such high salary specialisations, it is important to note where Shia employees are most represented: in the Health Care Sector. Indeed, of all Bahraini employees in the Healthcare Sector Shia are strongly represented in Nursing (84.8%), Public Health (85.3%) and Medical and Laboratory Technicians (85.3%).

Since the overall picture of the 23252 people examined for this research sees a Shia representation of 62.6% and a Sunni representation of 37.4% it is safe to conclude that the Shia are not discriminated in these high-salary positions.

The Private Sector

A similar story unfolds when examining the 12404 people employed in Bahrain’s ten top- tier companies; Shia occupy 60.3% and Sunnis at 39.7% of available positions. The companies selected for this research were based on the largest number of personnel and revenues. Indicated alongside each of the subsequent (investigated) companies is the number of employees: Aluminium Bahrain (2409), Bahrain Petroleum Company (2371), Bahrain Airport Services (1935), Gulf Air (1899), Batelco (1246), Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Company (767), Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill Company (592), Gulf Petrochemical Industries (485), Bahrain National Gas Company (399), Bahrain Airport Company (301).

In examining the companies noted above, it is interesting to observe that the Shia community is most visibly represented in four major companies: Aluminium Bahrain (73.8%), Bahrain Petroleum Company (71.5%), Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (81.1%) and Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill Company (73.8%). While the two companies related to Aluminium continue to prosper, the Bahrain Petroleum Company and the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard have experienced significant restructuring over the past decade. While not wishing to speculate, it may be that what seems a sectarian issue may, in fact, be a series of political outbursts more related to the insecurity of Shia employees – and their children – in some key companies.

Graph 4. Top Ten Companies - Employees Sectarian Share

Keeping in mind the theme of this section, the statistics again speak volumes and it is clear that Bahraini Shia are adequately represented in the country’s top-tiered companies.

The Banking Sector

As Bahrain’s hydrocarbons began to decline, the government took measures to liberalise the country’s banking sector and has encouraged the development of a financial hub on the Island. The research conducted for this analysis identified Bahrain’s five most important banks in terms of their revenues and the size of their workforce (indicated in parentheses beside the bank names below). As in other sectors of Bahrain’s economy, the Shia are adequately represented, though in this case the numbers are more balanced.

The banks selected for inspection were: The Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (638), National Bank of Bahrain (560), Ahli United Bank (512), Bahrain Islamic Bank (379) and Standard Chartered Bank (369).

Graph 5. Top Five Banks – Employees Sectarian Share

On inspection, the Shia and Sunni communities are nearly balanced in terms of employment within this sector of the economy with the Shia holding some 53.4% and the Sunni some 46.6% of available positions. This distribution indicates that there is no discrimination based on sect in the financial and banking sector of Bahrain.

Shia Owned Companies

In contrast to the above explorations, research was also conducted on the top ten (in terms of revenues and workforce) businesses owned and operated by members of Bahrain’s Shia community. In this research, it was discovered that systemic biases are evident, though directed against the country’s Sunni community. Consider that in none of the ten companies do Sunnis account for more than 3.0% of the workforce. Indeed, in only half of the researched companies do Sunnis represent even between 2%-2.9% of the workforce: Ahmed Mansoor Al A’ali Company (2.9%), Hasan and Habib S/O Mahmood Company (2.6%), Al Jazira Supermarkets (2.1%), and Al Wasat Newspaper (2.4%).

Of the 2648 employees of such Shia owned businesses, an average of 98.1% of available positions are held by Shia.

Graph 6. Ten Companies Owned by Shia (Extreme) - Employee Sectarian Share

Researching these Shia companies indicates that there is, in fact, a systematic hiring bias, though it is directed at Bahrain’s Sunni, rather than Shia community. Therefore, the original argument that Shia are economically disempowered is falsified, though the argument that, in certain sectors, Bahrain’s Sunni community may be disempowered, may be validated with further research.

Conclusion: Demography as a Solution

Critics of this research will certainly point to the distribution of employment as an indication that the first line of argumentation – that the Shia form the majority of the population – is accurate. However, demonstrating that key sectors of the economy retain a majority of Shia in the workforce does not imply a reflection in the larger community. Instead, such statistics (as presented above) only seek to show that the theory of economic desperation and disempowerment is false.

Additionally, if demography is used as a tool to delegitimise the governance structures of Bahrain it may be useful to turn the debate on its head and argue that demography may in fact be utilised as a solution to combating politically motivated attacks against Bahrain’s civil society especially since a different strand of arguments are used to politicise demography; arguments that suggest that the Bahraini government is attempting to alter the demographic balance by inviting Sunni Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and others, into the country and to provide them with naturalisation documents. This line of argumentation is echoed by serial-revolutionaries in the West and among some of Bahrain’s more acutely dangerous neighbours, re: Iran in a bid to cast a shadow of doubt over the intentions of Bahrain’s government.

This line of logic holds that the only reason for immigration to Bahrain is to alter the demographic situation on the Island. This is a false pretext for anti-establishment behaviour. In other words, those which decry Bahrain’s immigration policy do so because they do not recognise the decision-making authority, or legitimacy, of the government and use demographic arguments to further push their own sectarian agenda.

Yet, in such a sustained sectarian attack against Bahrain’s immigration policy, few have truly sought to learn about the people who are being politicised for nothing more than gaining Bahraini nationality through the many channels open to immigrants; asylum seekers, economic migrants, regular immigrants, etc. Despite the near deafening depiction that immigrants are mercenaries working to suppress the ‘majority Shia,’ most immigrants to Bahrain – over the past century – are hardly Sunni zealots seeking to eliminate the country’s Shia; they tend to be either the politically vanquished or the economically downtrodden. The come from around the world; the Philippines, Kurdistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Turkey, Western Europe and the US and, for the past century, they have steadily come from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Baluchistan and from throughout the Middle East.

It is on this last destination that pause for reflection is most needed since the cases of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants to Bahrain clearly demonstrate that Bahrain’s immigration policy is not intended to alter the demographic situation on the ground – it has already been widely acknowledged by the Bahraini government (and noted above) that Bahrainis, Shia and Sunni, are the minority in the country – but is designed in a way to provide political safety and economic opportunity for those that require it most.

Consider Bahrain’s naturalisation of a substantial number of Palestinians following the 1967 general Arab-Israeli conflict and again during the first intifada in 1987. Bahrain was not attempting to upset some illusionary demographic imbalance; the notion of doing so was not mentioned in any policy document and neither is it reasonable to suggest that Bahrain’s leaders even considered this possibility. Instead, Bahrain was responding to the humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinians. In this case, owing to the importance attached to the Palestinian cause throughout the width and breadth of the international community, al Wefaq and other Shia political blocs determine that the government of Bahrain is actively bringing Sunni Muslims into Bahrain to form a majority without citing the Palestinians by name; they are, largely, Sunni Muslims. It would be quite unreasonable for al Wefaq to publically demand that the Palestinians be sent back to Palestine and, it is supposed, that many of its followers would challenge it on this point. So, instead of accepting that Bahrain has actually worked for the benefit of Palestinians by granting them Bahraini nationality, al Wefaq drowns the specifics of the Palestinian case in its wide-scaled attack on Bahrain’s leadership.

The same could be said of Syrians who have streamed into the kingdom since 1981 following Hafez al Assad’s destruction of the city of Hama in a quest to end months of Muslim Brotherhood violence against the state. Most, if not all, Syrian refugees that were granted asylum in Bahrain and later became naturalised citizens, were civilians trapped in a brutal war. They were not reinforcing some abstract sectarianism and they were not coming to Bahrain at the request of the government. Instead, they were refugees looking for respite and economic prospects. A similar pattern has been unfolding since mid- March 2011 when Syria’s political reform demonstrations transformed into civil war; Bahrain has assisted many hundreds of people settle into the Kingdom. That they tend to be Sunni Muslims is beside the point, or at least it should be.

Whether discussing Palestinians, Syrians or others, al Wefaq (among others) can only see the black-and-white of sectarianism, for them everything smacks of attacks against them. This is more than a slight case of sociopathology, it is terminal. And such a terminal, collective neurosis needs to be brought into the light so that those who have learned to recite the lines without inspecting the text can be enlightened. So it is not prudent to simply allow demographic slander to go unchecked, these lines of argumentation need to be openly challenged not for Bahrain as a state, but for the very people who live within it, those who found shelter, safety and security in the Kingdom, who call it home while al Wefaq calls them strangers and mercenaries.

This analysis was meant to reveal the politicisation of demographics by al Wefaq and to illustrate the diversity of Bahrain. The country is not a simple case of Sunnis and Shia Muslims competing for dominance of the political and economic resources of the state, Sunnis and Shia are joined by many other identities not least of Bahrainis. Despite the manipulation of demographics to attempt to delegitimise Bahrain’s immigration policy, and the government by extension, Bahrain continues to be a vibrant society where the majority of all citizens and residents from the full spectrum of ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and political groups enjoy freedom of speech, of assembly, of worship, of association.

Finally, it is important to note that Bahrain’s migration rate is very low; Bahrainis do not tend to leave their country. So, unlike the Palestinians or the Syrians, Bahrain is not a net migration country in that people – Shia or Sunni – feel so desperate that they would rather try their luck and start a new life elsewhere. Instead, for better or worse, Bahrainis prefer to stay in Bahrain.

1 Special Note: The contents of this work form the basis of a forthcoming research book on Bahrain. 2 For instance, Peterson, when discussing Bahraini liberalisation and Islamist political blocs noted that ‘Islamist forces in the country, among both the minority Sunni and majority Shi’i, constitute positive pressure towards liberalization …’ This, seemingly innocuous suggestion of demographic imbalance is unreferenced and therefore based on conjecture. Without clear evidence for verification of such a demographic imbalance it is remarkable that scholars are not more cautious, particularly when it is clear that neither Sunni nor Shia form the majority in Bahrain, points clearly indicated in the 2010 national census. See John E. Peterson (2009), ‘Bahrain: Reform—Promise and Reality,’ in Joshua Teitelbaum (ed) (2009), Political Liberalisation in the Persian Gulf, Columbia UP, p. 157. 3 Mansoor Al-Jamri (2010), ‘Shia and the State in Bahrain: Integration and Tensions,’ Alternative Politics, Special Issue 1, p. 3. 4 See: Mohammed Zahid Mahjoob Zweiri (2007), ‘The Victory of Al Wefaq: The Rise of Shiite Politics in Bahrain,’ Research Institute for European and American Studies, Research Paper No. 108, pp. 6-7. 5 Zweiri (2007), p. 7. 6 Zweiri (2007), p. 7. 7 Zweiri (2007), p. 7. 8 In a press release related to the continuing violence in Bahrain, the Shia al Ajam Grand Maatam issued a statement in support of the Bahraini authorities in overcoming street violence. The statement reads: ‘We follow in the steps of our fathers and forefathers in our allegiance to the Kingdom of Bahrain.’ For details see: Press Release: ‘All Should Unite to Stop Radicals and Put an End to Violence,’ Information Affairs Authority, 09 October 2012. 9 Gil Feiler (2012), ‘India’s Economic Relations with Israel and the Arabs,’ Mideast Security and Policy Studies, 96, p. 27. 10 The information for these points was gleaned during a series of interviews in Bahrain’s Council for Women and in discussion with a legal advisor to the Council between 25-30 January 2013 and 02-08 March 2013. 11 Including Supervisory and Executive positions. 12 Beyond the Ministry of Education and the University of Bahrain. 13 Physicists, Chemists, Statisticians.

2020 - Volume 14 Issue 2