Manama: Religious figures need to have proper licences to be able to deliver their sermons and speeches, a lawmaker has said.
"The figures need to successfully undergo training sessions before they are given the licence that allows them to address the people," MP Hassan Bukhammas said.
Islam and democracy, and civilisational dialogues among the topics that should be included in the mandatory training sessions, the lawmaker said.
"Such training opportunities would help enhance the religious speeches, rhetoric and argumentation and will ensure that they are not used for political purposes or sectarian objectives," said the MP who was elected last year to the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.
Bukhammsa said that events have indicated that sectarianism was a fertile land for political and social tensions and crises and needed to be addressed.
"The workshops and training sessions are available locally, regionally and internationally," he said.
According to Bukhammas, the religious rhetoric has failed to keep up with developments and modernism.
"Instead of reinforcing initiatives and ideas to find positive solutions that will be beneficial to all segments of the Bahraini society, speeches and sermons are being used to tilt the balance in favour of one sect or the other. History is used to support such negative arguments and we end up with deep social fractures and the inability to heal the wounds," he said.
Bahrain has been deeply divided, usually along sectarian faults, following months of unrest.
Attempts to overcome the divide have been unsuccessful in overcoming the fierce resistance from several sides to compromise and reach new common grounds.