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Sun 28 Dec 2014 02:49 PM

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Backlash against Kuwaiti MP's call for alcohol to be legalised

Nabil Al Fadhl claims the country’s ancestors were tolerant of its consumption in the past

Backlash against Kuwaiti MP's call for alcohol to be legalised
Photo for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

A Kuwait MP is facing a backlash after he called for the Gulf state to legalise the sale of alcohol, claiming the country’s ancestors were tolerant of its consumption in the past, the Kuwait Times reported.

Independent MP Nabil Al Fadhl made the comments as part of his aim to persuade lawmakers to reverse the ban on the consumption of alcohol, which has been in place since 1964.

Al Fadhl also called for the lifting of tough restrictions on musical concerts, which were imposed 10 years ago, and vowed to challenge an article in the Kuwaiti constitution banning non-Muslims from getting Kuwaiti citizenship.

Critics have come out in force against Al Fadhl’s call for the legalisation of alcohol, which is banned under Islamic culture but sold in some Gulf countries, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

MP Saud Al-Huraiji issued a statement claiming Al Fadhl’s comments “had clearly undermined the image of Kuwaitis and the country’s history.”

“Fadhl is distorting the history and the image of Kuwait and its people who have elected him” he added.

The Islamist Social Reform Society also strongly condemned Al Fadhl’s comments.

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Abdullah 5 years ago

Finally, someone is brave enough to voice his opinion on how Kuwait change for the benefit of society. I have never seen a country that needed to legalize alcohol more than the State of Kuwait and this could be done conservatively in 5 star hotels. Distorting the image of Kuwait? I don't think I have ever met a Kuwaiti that doesn't drink alcohol. It will be good for the economy and as far as musical concerts? Their kids are waiting with baited breath for this one to pass. Kuwaitis are the least conservative of all the GCC countries, and I don't understand why this has taken so long to be discussed. Well it did take them 16 years to buy 1 plane for their crumbling national carrier, Kuwait Airways, I guess things in Kuwait don't happen very quickly.

Wael 5 years ago

Abdulla, you know that Kuwaities are very talkative and open with very high freedom of space to express our opinions, and you think despite all that freedom people would be "scared" to talk about Alcohol (if we do want it)??
Sorry, but being open doesn't mean we accept to do things against our religion despite having minority people that have no problem in doing it!.
I'm confident saying that the majority of people in Kuwait (I'm 50 and ALL people I know don't drink and I'm not considered to be conservative or strict person) does not accept alcohol consumption in Kuwait which is shared by our government, saying that there are minority of Kuwaities do drink alcohol which I recommend that you shouldn't be with them (unless you share it with them!) which we should accept they are available in every society.
Finally, as a Kuwaiti I'm very proud that my country doesn't allow alcohol and will not accept to change our values to attract people to Kuwait

peter 5 years ago

Wael. I like you confidence and generalization of public view and opinion based on what you and a few of your friends think. Could it be that you and your friends over 50 are just a small group of people who are of the same belief? I could tell you the exact opposite cause I see and meet pleanty who believe the opposite of you. Reality is that we live in a world different than what it was in 1964, 1864 and so on. Counties are no longer one kind, one religion etc. It is multicultural. Countries and people need to embrace change and give people freedom to enjoy alcohol in designated places if they want, go to concert and enjoy the company of others and embrace the social benifits of such events etc. How do you feel KW compare against UAE to keep it GCC specific? UAE is a booming tourist hub for example. Is KW?
Look at any report on the happiest and tourist friendly countries in the world compared to the least. It shows a clear picture: more freedom (in general) = more happy

Saudi Engineer 5 years ago

I couldn't help but laugh at this statement:
"I have never seen a country that needed to legalize alcohol more than the State of Kuwait..."
Would you base this judgement on your specialty as an alcohol legalization expert? Or is this strictly a personal opinion based on absolutely nothing?
I cannot say all Kuwaitis do or don't drink, but I would have to think you probably need to get to know more Kuwaitis, or at least stop meeting them in bars. If you go to a football match, it's hard to find someone who is not a football fan.
In the end I repeat that the decision must be left to the people of Kuwait, and not you or I or any other observer who wants to force their own principles upon someone else.

Saudi Engineer 5 years ago

I think we should leave this discussion to the Kuwaitis. Their country their rules, who are we or anyone else to try to tell them what to do with their country?

teetotaller 5 years ago

If government think that the people still need baby-sitting and cannot handle freedom, it is better to impose strict rules. I have lived in countries where everything is available and still never tempted to try them (call me boring) and I know people who tried everything in spite of living in a very restrictive country. Booz is available freely in UAE but that does not mean Emiratis (or any other resident) are turning alcoholic. May be Kuwaiti lawmakers feel citizen are not mature enough to resist the temptation... Those who need it, can always travel to Bahrain / UAE / Europe to satisfy the urge.