Kuwait: Debate over the headscarves of female ministers

Kuwait Times
Islamic MPs are obliging Education Minister Nouriya Al-Sabeeh and Housing Minister Moudhi Al-Homoud to wear hijabs during parliamentary sessions in implementation of Islamic rules and regulations.
The hijab issue had been the core of debate and controversy amongst MPs and political activists for a long with some of them for and others against forcing the female ministers to wear the hijab.
MP Mohammed Al-Kandari stressed that this call was merely motivated by a devotion on following Islamic regulations without any violations of both ministers' personal freedom. "It is clear in our religion and in Kuwaiti traditions that women should wear the hijabs," he reiterated underscoring that raising such an issue was not a matter of extremism.

On the other hand, MP Saleh Al-Mulla said no one was entitled to force others to dress in a certain manner. "Wearing a hijab is totally personal issue. In a democracy like Kuwait, the hijab must not be imposed on women. It is something between worshippers and Allah," he added.

On the same front, may female political activists like lawyer Najla Al-Naqqi, Dr. Ghanimah Al-Haidar (who wears a hijab), Ayesha Al-Reshaid, Fatima Al-Nahham and Ayesha Al-Ameeri slammed the calls to force both ministers wear hijabs. "There are far more important issues to be tackled and tended to than forcing the two ministers to wear a hijab," argued Al-Naqqi criticizing MPs who had made their way to the Parliament by women's votes without even raising such an issue on any of their electoral campaign agendas or meetings.

This is a strictly personal issue between a woman and Allah," said Dr. Ghanimah Al-Haidar highlighting that not wearing hijabs had not hindered women's practical lives nor careers. On her part, Fatima Al-Nahham stressed that both ministers had been appointed in accordance to the wish of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as an integral part of his authority. "In accordance to article 50 of the constitution, legislatives must not interfere in the authorities of the executives," Al-Nahham added.

27 August 2008

Source: Kuwait Times