Maryam Alkhawaja Spreads Lies in Disguise of Fighting for Rights

Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society is planning to sue Maryam Alkhawaja, 23, and a Bahraini Shia, in Norway and Sweden.

Maryam has been virulently spreading lies about the developments in Bahrain at international forums from the US to Norway and hurting the image of the Kingdom.

The society secretary-general Faisal Foulad says they are gathering evidence against her to be presented to the prosecutors overseas, especially since her inflammatory comments have resulted in hate crimes against the Asian community in Bahrain. She must be held accountable. Her latest lie is that she has been asking the authorities in Bahrain to visit the country since August last year but the government consistently refuses to allow her.

But before we proceed any further, let us find out who exactly Maryam Alkhawaja is. She goes by the self-conferred grand designation of ‘Head of Foreign Relations’ of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, an organization set up by her father.

Nevertheless the centre finds solace in ploughing a sort of lonely furrow, it being a kind of family outfit with her father being the founder. Since she was raised in Denmark and lives in the US most of the time she is able to use the outfit as a toy to deride people and events she may not have met or witnessed in a long time.

But since the Shia-inspired troubles in Bahrain, the world media and more especially the human rights organizations have begun to take a closer look at the ground realities in Bahrain and in that context Maryam has tried to raise her through her underground organisation’s profile. Her lies have to be seen in the context of those attempts.

In addition to lying about the government refusal to allow her to come to Bahrain, she has expanded her agenda by launching a smear campaign against Asian expatriates in Bahrain as well. At the height of the Shia frenzy in Bahrain, a number of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were brutally attacked in the Shia-dominated areas with knives, swords and metal pipes resulting in deaths and grievous injuries.

One Pakistani whose tongue was cut and an Indian who was badly bludgeoned are both lying in the intensive care units of hospitals in coma for the last two months. The victims and their colleagues all point fingers at their Shia neighbours, claiming some of the victims were dragged out of their homes.

But at a forum in the US recently, Maryam stood up to claim the Asians were only targeted because they had been hired to attack Bahraini Shia protesters at the GCC Roundabout and elsewhere. The truth is the attackers harboured the grudge based on unsubstantiated grounds that the Asians were taking away their jobs in certain key ministries.

Indeed both Indian and Pakistani embassies issued statements vehemently rejecting such preposterous claims. Confronted at the forum with a newspaper report carrying the Indian ambassador’s rejection and condemnation of such claims, Maryam had no answer.

But she may have to provide an answer on this score soon since the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society is planning to sue her in Norway and Sweden. Her father is already among 21 people charged with conspiring to topple the government and having links with a foreign terrorist organization.

As for her other claim, about the Bahrain government not allowing her into the country since August 2010, her own tweets have nailed her lies since in February this year she had tweeted more than once to say she was joining the march to what she calls the Martyrs Square in Bahrain and another from Bani Jamrah to Saar, a suburb of Bahrain. This clearly indicates she has been coming and going out of Bahrain this year.

In any case, since she holds a Bahraini passport, one wonders why would she need to ask anyone or seek permission before visiting her homeland. Unless her statement is meant to further show the Bahrain government in a poor light or unless she has accepted another country’s nationality and is hiding the fact.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.