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Thu 17 May 2012 02:37 PM

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Kuwait's ruler blocks MPs' Islamic law proposal

Amendment to make all legislation comply with Islamic law blocked by emir

Kuwait's ruler blocks MPs' Islamic law proposal
Kuwaits Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (AFP/Getty Images).

Kuwait's ruler has blocked a proposal by 31 of the 50 elected members of parliament to amend the constitution to make all legislation in the Gulf Arab state comply with Islamic law, an MP said on Thursday.

The approval of Kuwait's emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Saba, is needed for any constitutional change.

"His highness the emir is not in favour," said Mohammad al-Dallal, an Islamist MP and legal expert. The proposal was put forward by the Islamic Justice Bloc and signed by 31 lawmakers, he said.

Political parties are banned in Kuwait so MPs have to rely on forming blocs in parliament. The 15-member cabinet selected by the prime minister can also vote in parliament.

"We must think again about convincing the emir or submitting it again in another format," Dallal said.

"Our society is a conservative society, a lot of people request that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law). We also do not have a stable political system," he said, adding such an amendment could help make lawmaking less chaotic.

Islamist MPs have proposed amending the constitution in this way several times in the past. This time, they asked to change article 79 to make sharia "the only source" of legislation rather than a major or main source as it is now.

Like elsewhere in the region, Islamists have made political gains in the major oil producer.

With many campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, Islamists increased their share of parliamentary seats in Kuwait after a snap election in February which ushered in its fourth parliament in six years.

Kuwait, a regional US ally, is ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy and states Islam as its official religion. About 85 percent of Kuwait's population is thought to be Muslim. The next biggest groups are expatriate Hindus and Christians.

Calvin Pinto 7 years ago

How is introduction of sharia law in compliance wit the guidelines of democracy which states separation of state and religious institution?

irtza 7 years ago

calvin democracy say majority rules so 85% are Muslims so there law should be applied then secularism is for a secularist society it has nothing to do with a religious society. In turkey by separation religion from state you have given all power to minority which is not against democracy...

Origins of Truth 7 years ago

Since when did democracy mean seperation of state and religion?

Why does every country have to follow the western model of governance?

Why is democracy regarded the best form of governance?

Considering the poor understanding of Islam (and other non European faiths) by Western opinion makers, why should non Europeans listen to Westerners?

Why is democracy considered a benign form of governance, whilst dictatorship considered oppresive, especially when democracies in Western nations are staring to resemble dictatorships? Can there be a benign dictatorship or a democratic oppressor or dictator.

Tony 7 years ago

Today's Islam is very similar to the Catholic church 500 years ago. In Saudi, a Muslim who denounces the prophet would be executed, similar to the Catholic treatment of non believers 500 years ago. Today, the Western world is democratic and no longer ruled by religion. Religions had their usefulness in controlling the masses but have caused the deaths of millions of people fighting in the name of their own particular religion. I think the Kuwaiti ruler is a very brave and smart person to go against the majority of his advisors and not have Shariah law govern everything. I actually think some of Shariah law is good - capital punishment for murder is one example. However, laws should be established by the majority of the people and not by any particular religion.

Jeddy 7 years ago

Where is teh separation of Chucrh & statein teh oldest democray (UK)?

THE Bishop of Guildford is set to take up a seat in the House of Lords.

The Rt Revd Christopher Hill will become a Lord Spiritual, having been summoned as the most long-standing diocesan bishop after the retirement of the Bishop of Ely.

The first thing that happens at the beginning of business each day in the Lords Chamber is the saying of prayers by one of the bishops. Only Members of the Lords are present while prayers are said - the public and staff are not present.

Saad 7 years ago

'Democracy' is 'hypocrisy'.

Doug 7 years ago

What's democracy got to do with this? The story is 'monarch blocks law'. All those arguing that democracy is bad - here you go, this is what happens in a non-democracy. You must be overjoyed then by the Emir's decision.

Safa 7 years ago

Islamic law would make him accountable for his actions, thats why he doesnt want it.

steve 7 years ago

Its not just democracy..............

james 7 years ago

several good points made here however democracy is about all the people and there are over 4 million people in Kuwait, Kuwaitis and expats we the expats may not be muslims and dont want to be persecuted or procecuted for our beliefs
Kuwait is being driven down an islamic route but it is dividing society and unfortunatly the loudest voice isnt always the right one
I applaud the Amir for trying to keep the country for all we dont mind or object to Islam in fact it has lots of good in it however we have other views
If we were to follow the Grand Mufti in Saudi and marry girls at 12 and burn all churches would it be right ??
Islam is interpreted differently depending on whether your a Sunni Shite or whatever lets just all live together and tolerate all our beliefs