Christian Restrictions in Kuwait

In February, Kuwait’s newly formed al-Adala (“Justice”) Bloc introduced legislation to remove Christian churches and impose Islamic Shariah law. Party officials said later the legislation would not remove existing churches but would prohibit further construction of non-Muslim places of worship. The legislation also introduces Islam-inspired measures to fight corruption and “strengthen national unity.” On March 12 Bishop Camillo Ballin, the Italian-born apostolic administrator of Kuwait, called the proposals “out of step with the traditions of Kuwait, which seeks to be an open, tolerant country welcoming other religions besides Islam.” He said such proposals emerge “from ideologies which want to divide the world between Muslims and non-Muslims.” According to Bishop Ballin, al-Adala’s claims that there were more churches in Kuwait than needed by its Christian minority were untrue, taking account only of the small number of Christians who were ethnic Kuwaitis. “When religious life is assured, social life is also easier—so why can’t our foreign members have a place for worship?” the bishop asked.

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