Manama is not a very glitzy city when you compare it to cities in the region, but it is charming. Sadly the waterfront areas are being rapidly urbanized, making them look like an ugly replica of Dubai. And there were lot of South Asian laborers around the city. I met some from my native Nepal.

Along with its pragmatic attitude on women's rights and their participation in public life, Baharain has gone a new way on Jewish-Muslim relations.

The New York Times reports that "It's O.K. to be Jewish in Bahrain." It is no secret that in the region and around the world, Jewish-Muslim relations have suffered because of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa a Sunni Muslim has taken steps to embrace the country's Jewish minority.

But not everyone is happy. Some see the King's move as a way to keep America Bahrain's ally happy, and some question the king's tolerance towards Jews and discrimination against the native Shia.

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