Sawsan Al Sha'er

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Sawsan Al Sha’er (Arabic: سوسن الشاعر‎‎) is widely regarded as Bahrain’s most influential liberal intellectual[citation needed]. A journalist and author, she is a columnist with Al Watan newspaper, having joined the staff there from the pro-government Al Ayam.

Ms Al Sha’er is well known for her liberal opinions and has been an outspoken critic of religious "extremism". Unlike many Arab liberals, Ms Al Sha’er has not been afraid to debate with religious clerics and criticize their opinions. This has brought her into confrontation with many of Bahrain’s Islamist politicians, such as Ali Salman and Adel Mouwda. She has accused "extremists" backing suicide bombers in Iraq of trying to ‘lead Bahrain to hell’.

While a leading supporter of King Hamad’s political liberalization, Ms Al Sha’er has criticised the government whenever it has failed to meet its reform commitments and over the performance of individual ministers. On 26 February 2006, in Al Watan she was scathing about the Minister of Housing, Fahmi Al Jowder, over his "ludicrous praise reminiscent of the Saddam Hussain coterie" [1].

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