ASIA/KUWAIT - A new Islamic parliamentary group: "Stop to the new churches, yes to sharia"

Friday, 24 February 2012

Kuwait City (Agenzia Fides) - The new Islamic parliamentary group "Al-Adala Bloc" (Group of Justice) has announced a bill to prohibit the construction of churches and other non-Islamic places of worship in the small emirate. As reported to Fides by local sources, the proposal comes from a Kuwaiti MP Osama al-Munawer. He, at first, had announced plans to introduce a law for the removal of all the churches in the country; he later explained that the law will only regard the construction of new ones. The proposal, backed by other MPs, is motivated by the fact that "Kuwait has already too many churches compared to the country's Christian minority." Another Islamist MP, Mohammad Hayef, commented the news on the recently granted license to build a new church in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, and said that the measure "is a mistake on behalf of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs" and "will not go unnoticed."
The proposed law against new churches has been criticized in civil society. The lawyer and parliamentarian Nabeel Al Fadhel said: "The Constitution clearly stipulates religious freedom and the right of all people to practice their religious beliefs," recalling that the rulers of Kuwait have always supported religious freedom. The NGO "Kuwait Human Rights Society" (KHRS) deplored "the irresponsible behavior that creates tension and hatred between the citizens", noting that Kuwait has to remain a country that protects safety and tolerance for all citizens and residents.
The Islamic parliamentary group "Al-Adala Bloc", formed recently, intends to request an amendment of the Constitution and some laws to make the "Sharia" (Islamic law) the main source of the legislation and law, in order to 'preserve' the identity of society and its Islamic values, to work according to the principles of equality, introduce bills inspired by Islam, fight corruption, strengthen national unity," as stated in the manifesto of the group. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2012)