Kuwaiti Liberals to Form New Group Against Religious Extremism
Leading liberal Kuwaiti intellectuals and politicians vowed Sunday to form a new pressure group immediately to combat the fast-growing wave of Islamic extremism in the emirate.
"Kuwait is passing through a period of pessimism accompanied by growing religious fanaticism and extremism, and frenzied political disputes in parliament and press," the liberals said in a statement carried by Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.
More than 30 liberal writers, thinkers and politicians attended a meeting Saturday to study "the state of despair and lack of confidence in the future" in Kuwait.
"A broad-based popular body comprising non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intellectuals, thinkers and all those who realize the gravity of the situation, should be formed immediately," the liberals declared.
Kuwait was plunged into a political crisis earlier this month when a group of suspected Islamic militants attacked a 20-year old female student for not wearing the traditional Muslim hijab head covering.
Kuwait's outspoken Islamists are constantly pressurizing the government to clamp down on what they dub "Western" or "immoral" activities.
The student's beating has prompted a series of attacks from liberals on the government in the press and during heated parliamentary sessions for its lack of decisiveness and the stagnation of public life.
Although political parties are banned in Kuwait, liberals and Islamists traditionally work in a loosely formed unofficial opposition coalition in this Gulf Arab country.
This opposition now holds a two-thirds majority in Kuwait's 50-seat assembly - (AFP)
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