Kuwait lawmakers urged not to use religion in political standoffs

January 4, 2011

A Kuwaiti religion professor has asked lawmakers not to use religion to explain their decisions whether to support or oppose the country’s prime minister in the no-cooperation vote on Wednesday.

“We understand that some MPs have explained their position to their constituents and to the media by referring to religion,” Tariq Al Tawari said.

“What is happening in the country is purely political and has nothing to do with religion. Some people found a way of using some Quranic verses or sayings by the Prophet (PBUH) to explain their stances, and this is unacceptable,” the University of Kuwait professor said on Monday.

Prime Minister Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad is facing a crucial no-cooperation vote on Wednesday that could result in the dismissal of the government or the dissolution of the parliament.

The vote was decided after ten lawmakers filed a no-cooperation motion following a day-long grilling of the prime minister last week.

Opposition MPs have charged Shaikh Nasser of allowing anti-riot police to clash with people attending a rally held on December 8 ostensibly to discuss probable amendments to the constitution.

The police said that it wanted to impose law and order after crowds taunted them and broke the law by holding their rally outside the designated area.

However, lawmakers who were present at the rally insisted that the police abused their powers and charged them with batons to disperse an otherwise peaceful gathering.

The opposition, mainly conservative forces, has been seeking to dismiss the current government or dissolve the parliament following bitter standoffs with the prime minister.

However, to defeat the government in the no-cooperation vote, they need the support of at least 26 of the parliament’s 50 lawmakers eligible to vote on the motion. Ministers who are members of the parliament cannot vote in this instance.

Most lawmakers have told the media how they would vote on January 5 and each of the government and opposition camps have expressed confidence in carrying out the day despite the high number of undecided MPs.

On Sunday, two lawmakers said that they would support the government and that their decision was based on religious reasons, a statement that has infuriated the opposition and sparked reactions from some religious figures who said that religion should not be invoked in the political standoff.

“Voting for or against the government is a constitutional right granted to the representatives of the nation and decided according to the country’s best interests and not those of any party,” Al Tawari said.

“No lawmaker should use religion as a cover for their actions and decisions. Islam as a religion insists on reforms and holding people responsible for their acts and does not condone aggressions or blood letting. So, all lawmakers have to make their decisions based on the interests of the nation they have assumed the responsibility of representing in parliament,” he said.




About the author

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

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