Kuwait bans building new churches

Published January 27th, 2016 - 10:30 GMT

The Municipality has initially approved requests to build new churches in Kuwait, but faces opposition from lawmakers and councilors. Islamist lawmaker Ahmad Al-Azemi yesterday said he and other MPs will reject the plan because this contradicts Islamic sharia laws. He said his rejection is based on constitutional and religious grounds since Islam is the official religion of the country and the main source of legislation, adding that Islamic scholars are unanimous in banning the building of non-Muslim worship places in the Arabian Peninsula.

Azemi’s statement came after a top Municipality official said in comments yesterday that the municipality has allocated a number of sites for the construction of churches in the country. The official also said that the decision to approve the allocations will be made by the Municipal Council. The head of the council’s technical committee Fahd Al-Sane said that the committee had not yet received any such request.

Council member and head of the Ahmadi committee Mane Al-Ajmi said that he was against building churches in Kuwait because of the awqaf ministry’s fatwas against it. Head of the Capital committee Hassan Kamal said that the topic was not yet discussed by the council and that if all needed documents were in order, the municipality’s primary approval would be taken into consideration.

There are several churches in Kuwait, while some churches are operating from leased houses. MP Azemi urged the government against taking decisions that are not accepted by Kuwait’s conservative society. Former Islamist MP Mohammad Hayef expressed similar opposition to the proposal, saying that the number of churches in Kuwait “exceeds the number of Kuwaiti Christians”. Kuwaiti Christians number around 200, while about half a million Christian foreigners live in the country.

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