Bahrain shura row over ‘inheritance’ law


Councillors were discussing amendments to the civil service and military personnel pension laws, when councillor Faisal Fullad questioned whether the amendment took into consideration Jews and Christians.

"The amendments should take into consideration minorities, instead of just focusing on the Muslim way of dividing inheritances," he said.

Councillor Ali Al Asfoor said as Bahrain’s main religion was Islam and all the laws in the country adhere to that.

"Under the current law, children receive equal shares of their parent’s pension after the death of their father and it should be divided according to the Islamic way – two shares for males to one share for females," he said.

"The law doesn’t take into consideration religion and it is being established to ensure that everyone gets their right, regardless of the religion they follow."

A Pension Fund Commission (PFC) representative told councillors that money was being given as a social benefit and not as an inheritance.

"This means that division of money is being done equally amongst children, regardless of their gender," he said.

"If it is an inheritance, then it would be two to one, but that’s not the case here.

"Religion is not taken into consideration when social benefit is given, since it is not mandatory as inheritance."

Services committee chairman Dr Bahiya Al Jishi said that working and married female children should not be given benefits after the death of their father or mother.

"It should be divided on the children who are in real need, not those who don’t need it," she said.

"This article should be added to the amended law to ensure fairness for everyone."

Woman and child committee secretary Dr Aysha Mubarak said that the PFC and the Supreme Council for Women have backed the amendments.

"However, we found that the PFC has given parliament a different explanation on the amendments, who have already approved it, other than that given to us, which confused us on how the money would be divided among the children."

Councillors decided to suspend discussions on the amendments to the laws, referring it back to the woman and child committee for further discussions.

Meanwhile, the council is to discuss inflation at its meeting next Monday after an urgent proposal by councillors yesterday. Members will explore the reasons behind the rise of basic goods and the affects on Bahraini families and their living standards.

Parliament has already discussed the issue at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday and they are set to meet with Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on the issue at a date to be announced soon.


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