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Bahrain: Fighting Sectarian Bigotry Head On

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

Yesterday, Bahrain announced a BD1,000 ($2,650) gift to each Bahraini family, to mark the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter – a day which signalled a new era in the country, and the beginning of political reforms which included a new constitution and an elected parliament. Reactions on Twitter varied, with some counting their money and what they plan to do with the windfall and others complaining that it is too little, too late.

The day, February 14, is also being touted as a Day of Rage in the country, with calls on social networks for people to take to the streets and demand political, social and economic reforms.

On Twitter, reactions to both ‘events’ have taken a sectarian tone, among Bahraini tweeps, with some resorting to name calling and insults between the country's two Muslim sects (Shia/Sunni) – crossing the lines of decency and etiquette.

Also on Twitter, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was quick to intervene, “doing [his] national duty and speaking up against sectarian bigotry” – a move cheered on by tweeps upset by the insults.

Here are some of the reactions on Twitter:

@khalidalkhalifa: The last thing we need today is some stupid bigots attacking each other along sectarian lines .. We should all stand up against them

@khalidalkhalifa: @nadooi_wish That hurts me really bad .. Whoever said such words about his compatriots should realize he is hurting himself

@khalidalkhalifa: Dear tweeps need to thank me for doing my national duty and speaking up against sectarian bigotry . God bless you all

@khalidalkhalifa: @Umsultan fighting bigotry and nonsense is no nonsense

@khalidalkhalifa: RT @AhmedBinHamad RT @Mar3oob: views of the ignorant few don't reflect the general view. Sectarianism should be punishable.

@khalidalkhalifa: Absolutely RT @Mhdisa The gr8 achievements of the ppl of Bahrain throughout the years R 4 all 2 B proud of!!! nevr gave room 4 bigotry!

@emoodz: God bless you sir “@khalidalkhalifa: [..] no need to thank me for doing my national duty and speaking up against sectarian bigotry [..]”

@Khaleejia: We need more people like @khalidalkhalifa who are ready to talk, share and explain. #UnitedBahrain

@talalabsi: @khalidalkhalifa but we have to thank you, sir. It is crucial to lead by example and im sure everybody is grateful and proud..

Meanwhile, an Arab revolution time-table is being circulated online.
This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

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