Kuwait imam suspended for allegedly attacking sect
Kuwait has suspended a mosque preacher after he allegedly attacked Shiites in his sermon on Friday.
“We have taken him off as a precautionary measure while the investigation into the claims is being conducted,” Waleed Al Shoaib, the endowments and Islamic affairs assistant undersecretary for mosques, said. “A commission from the ministry is looking into the case and the decision on his future will be taken based upon its conclusion. If the recording confirms the claims that he attacked another sect, we will apply the anti-hatred law,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Nahar on Monday.
Kuwaitis have complained that the imam of Yousufain Mosque in the posh area of Salmiya in downtown Kuwait City had abused Shiites in his weekly sermon. The authorities pledged to look into the case.
In his remarks, Al Shoaib said that the ministry would not tolerate the abuse of any segment of the society.
“We have always promoted and defended a moderate understanding of Islam and rejected extremism and all words or deeds that could result in sedition and divide the Kuwaiti society,” he said. “We have our own values and any imam who abuses them in any way is held responsible. Those who target any section of the society or deliver speeches or sermons that incite against people are detained.”
Kuwait’s mosques will not be used as political arenas, he said.
“We do not allow our mosques to be turned into battlegrounds for political ideologies or into arenas to attack or abuse sects, groups of people, a person or an ideology. We do need to reinforce our national unity and social cohesion,” he said.
Sectarianism has hit the Gulf societies, mainly after the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq.
Attempts by moderates to confront the ominous onslaught have often failed to contain the phenomenon and observers say that developments in the Syrian civil war have become the latest indication of the spread of sectarianism.