Kuwait interior minister under fire for allowing policewomen to use guns and join combatant forces

March 26, 2010
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Conservative Kuwaiti MP Mohammad Al Hayef has requested the interior minister to “honour his pledge on the duties of policewomen”, saying that there would be a quizzing on the matter.

“We have read media reports about Kuwaiti policewomen and their role as combatant women,” Al Hayef said in a statement. “This new role clashes with the interior ministry’s pledges on employing policewomen only in positions and places where they are really needed.”

On Tuesday, Kuwaiti Amir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah attended the graduation ceremony of the second batch of policewomen from the Saad Al Abdullah Academy for Security Science.

Newspapers, the following day, ran large pictures of black-clad policewomen in action and carrying guns, a highly unfamiliar sight in Kuwait.

Several Kuwaitis welcomed the new role for women, with bloggers praising their courage “to favour genuine action over shopping trips” and their dedication to the country.

However, Al Hayef insisted that the new role for Kuwaiti policewomen was ridiculous and required prompt intervention from senior officials.

“We want the minister to put an end to this ridiculous situation that he is watching day after day. We will not allow this to go on and he must respect the pledges he made before the parliament more than one year ago, particularly regarding policewomen’s Islamic dress,” Al Hayef said.  

The MP, a Salafi, last week took Kuwaiti officials to task for allowing the participation of a women’s football team in an Asian championship in Abu Dhabi, saying that they were eroding Islamic tenets and undermining Kuwaiti values.

Al Hayef was also a strong opponent of the participation of women in politics and firmly opposed the presence of unveiled women MPs in parliament.

The decision to allow women to join “combatant forces” was taken in June 2008 when Interior Minister Shaikh Jaber Al Khalid Al Sabah issued a breakthrough decree to allow applicants for the first batch of women cadets in the police force at the Saad Al Abdullah Academy.

“This is a qualitative move in supporting and rehabilitating the human resources of the interior ministry so that they could meet all security needs,” Youssef Al Madhahka, the academy director general, said then.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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