Brotherly kingdom makes cyber sympathy with Qatar a crime while the country urges Islamic restraint

 09 Jun 2017 - 1:49

Brotherly kingdom makes cyber sympathy with Qatar a crime while the country urges Islamic restraint
A handout photo made available by the Saudi press Agency shows the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia (R) meeting with HH the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa in Jeddah on June 7, 2017. AFP/ Bandar Al-Jaloud/ SPA

The Peninsula

Bahrain's Interior Ministry issued a statement yesterday threatening its citizens to stop showing sympathy or favour towards Qatar in social media. The step is aimed to suppress the freedom of speech its citizens and residents.
The ministry said in the statement which was carried by Bahrain's news agency (BNA) that sympathy for Qatar on the social media in the form of tweets, posts or any spoken or written word will be considered a crime punishable under the Penal Code and will lead to a jail term of up to five years and fine.
This decision evoked sharp criticism on social media and people condemned this step saying it stifles freedom of speech.
Bahrain’s statement comes after the United Arab Emirates announced similar diktat few days ago. The UAE had previously threatened its citizens against showing "sympathy, favoritism" towards the Qatar in social media or by any other means whether written or spoken.
UAE's Attorney General Dr Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, said the violation of these warnings will lead to a jail term of 3 to 15 years and a fine of not less than Dh500,000.
The UAE has blocked access to the website of Qatar Airways and Qatari media websites, including those of Al Jazeera media network. Emirates Post Group has halted postal services to Qatar from all of its postal offices in the United Arab Emirates until further notice, the country's state news agency reported. All as yet undelivered items will be returned with the corresponding postal fees according to procedures and regulations.

Statement by the Government Communications Office

Meanwhile, the Government Communications has issued the following statement:
Have you not seen how Allah has set a parable: "A good word is like a good tree, having its root firm and its branches in the sky". (Surah Ibrahim- verse 24)
Based on the principles of our Islamic religion, our human values, and our authentic Qatari culture, we call on all those who live in this noble land to rise above and continue to avoid responding similarly to the abuses that has been circulated in various social media platforms.
We also urge you to show a sense of responsibility by refraining from directing any kind of abuses to other countries, their leaders or their peoples.
The right of Qatari citizens and residents to express their opinions is always guaranteed, however keeping in mind the Islamic and cultural values that has been bestowed on us.