FP: Bahrain's Sunni royal family rules over a Shiite majority. There are those who say that Bahrain's demonstrators are taking orders from Iran, and others who argue that the Saudis are the ones who are supporting the regime. What is the role of the Shiites and the Sunnis in the popular revolt?
MK: Bahrain is not a Shiite country. Bahrain belongs to Bahrainis, it is for everyone. The protests are also for everyone. What happens in every oppressive country is that the government tries to split people on religious issues in order to control them. In Egypt, they tried to convince the world that it was a battle between Muslims and Copts (ten percent of Egyptians are Christian). In Syria, they are convincing people that Alawites are against Sunnis. But this is not the case in Bahrain -- we have an oppressive regime that is against the people, no matter their religion. The regime wants to transform the revolt into a sectarian issue, but this is just for their benefit. It is not the truth. At the end of the day, if you are Sunni and you criticize the regime, you are in prison and you are tortured. If you are Shiite and you defend the government, you could be a minister. What matters is not whether you are Shiite or Sunni, but whether you criticize the government or not.
FP: According to a recent Mastercard report, Bahraini women are the most empowered in the Arab region. What is the role of women in the revolt?
MK: They play a very important role. Sometimes Western observers think that women aren't protagonists just because they march in a different line from the men's one. But this is a cultural attitude. I believe that we don't need to think that just because males and females demonstrate in separate lines, women are oppressed. Sometimes it is just more comfortable not to be stuck between two men. One of the goals of the Arab Spring is to break Western stereotypes. My favorite Arab Spring video is the one of a Bahraini woman who's wearing an abaya and writing graffiti on the wall that says: "Even if the men stop, women will continue."