Saudi Arabia’s Neighbor Defends Religious Freedom of Individuals

This article was originally published by Christianity Today, on September 13.

Bahrain Declaration 2

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa (center), with Bahrain Declaration attendees. Credit: Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The cause of religious freedom received a significant boost from the Muslim world today. The island Kingdom of Bahrain—connected by bridge to Saudi Arabia—has declared “freedom of choice” to be a “divine gift.”

“We unequivocally reject compelled observance,” states the Bahrain Declaration for Religious Tolerance, released September 13 in Los Angeles with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders in attendance. “Every individual has the freedom to practice their religion, providing they do no harm to others, respect the laws of the land, and accept responsibility, spiritually and materially, for their choices.”

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain signed as an official envoy of the Gulf nation’s king. Johnnie Moore, a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Rabbi Marvin Heir of the Simon Wiesenthal Center also participated, joining ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Israel.

“The King is acting decisively, courageously, and seriously,” said Moore, noting also Bahrani sponsorship of a religious tolerance center in the capital city of Manama, as well as the sponsorship of a chair in religious coexistence at La Sapienza University in Rome.

“The declaration goes farther than any similar document that I’m aware of.” …

Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today.

Bahrain Declaration

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, with a Coptic priest. Credit: Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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