Islamists slam Kuwait's shopping festival
Kuwait's annual shopping festival is exposing the emirate to "night clubs, bars, casinos and corruption", the official charged with introducing Islamic sharia law into the country warned Wednesday.
Khaled Al-Mathkour, head of the government's Advisory Committee for Implementation of Sharia, said "some people are spreading moral corruption through dance and musical shows" at Hala February 2001 festival.
Organizers of the January 24-February 22 festival are wasting Kuwait's money on singers and dancers "whose value is nothing", charged Mathkour, a respected Islamic figure in Kuwait.
Hala February activities were aimed at "transforming Kuwait into a country for singing, dancing, drugs and the mixing of the sexes," he said.
Islamist MP Ahmad Baqer said a group of MPs planned to launch "a serious debate" in parliament over such activities, which he said ignored Kuwait's traditions and values.
Islamic groups in Kuwait strongly opposed the two previous shopping festivals in 1999 and 2000 because of fears that the country would be exposed to "immoral practices".
In July 1997, the information ministry banned all public music concerts or shows that contravene sharia law and Kuwaiti traditions, in line with parliamentary recommendations.
Kuwait ostensibly remains a religiously conservative country, where alcohol and discos are officially banned.
Organizers of Hala February 2001, which offers discounts of up to 70 percent, said they expect more than 130,000 foreign visitors. — (AFP, Kuwait City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)