Our Kuwait correspondent Dietrich sends his take on a recent media report about the level of “tolerance” in Kuwait:
Kuwait is a country whose constitution states that no law should contradict the Sharia.
Kuwait is a country where the Parliament passed a law approving the death penalty for insulting the Muslim Prophet and his relatives.
Kuwait is a country where a person faces ten years in jail for tweeting some “insulting remarks” considered to be blasphemy.
Kuwait is a country where drinking water in public during the “holy” Ramadan will land you in jail until the end of the Ramadan and bring you a heavy fine or prison.
Kuwait is a country where Hindus, Sikhs and other “pagans” are explicitly forbidden to have temples and to hold their religious observances.
There are Christian churches that were built in times past, but the construction of new ones is not allowed — although the only Catholic cathedral is clearly not able to accommodate the hundred of thousands of Filipino and Indian Catholics. No crosses are allowed on the buildings. One of the older ones, a Greek Orthodox Church, is situated in a villa not resembling a religious building at all and formally called “The Metropolitan’s House”. Christians suspected of proselytizing are immediately deported.
Kuwait is a country where the Shia, making up about 30% of the population, have some forty mosques and are not permitted to build more, while the Sunni mosques number literally in the tens of thousands.
Kuwait is a country… well, you didn’t guess it this time! The U.S. State Department “classified Kuwait among the rows [sic] of countries to be classified as a ‘tolerant country’ for practicing religious beliefs. Although the report says there are minorities who are experiencing some discrimination on an individual level, it was neither systematic nor widespread.”