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Kuwait: Parliament Divided on Women Ministers’ Veil

ANSAmed August 28 2008



DUBAI. It is not only the economic reforms promised during the electoral campaign or the alleged illegalities carried out in the construction of the fourth oil hub which are dividing the Parliament of Kuwait: it is also the issue whether the women Ministers are obliged or not to wear the traditional long dress with the veil in the Parliament hall.


The MPs of the Islamic block, which represent the majority in the National Assembly, want to force Nuraya Al Sabih, Education Minister, and Moudhi Al Homoud, House Minister, to wear the hijab, "in respect of the Islamic dictates". Clarifying that the request "is not a matter of extremism", MP Mohammad al Kandari insisted today from the pages of daily Kuwait Times that "according to Islam and according to Kuwait's traditions, women must wear the hijab".


The other section of the Parliament answered that "in a democracy such as Kuwait, the hijab cannot be imposed". "It is a matter between women and God", MP Saleh Al Mullah pointed out. The criticism of the Islamic majority targeted Minister Al-Sabieh since the first day when she entered the hall, wearing a two-piece suit and no veil, in April 2007.


At the time, the president of the Parliament had supported the Minister, saying that the regulation of the Assembly does not explicitly mention the obligation to wear the veil. The controversy, however, is still raging. The women of the oil Emirate became protagonists of the political life with full rights in 2005, with the clause that they comply with the dictates of the Islamic law.


This indication, however, does not specify which behaviours are acceptable and which are considered disrespectful or improper.



Posted August 28th, 2008 by hd

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