Thursday, May 03, 2012

Blasphemy in Kuwait

In an unfortunate development, Kuwait now has the death penalty for blasphemy:
"The National Assembly yesterday overwhelmingly passed a law that calls for the death penalty for Muslims who insult God, the Holy Quran and all prophets or desecrate the honor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his wives. Forty MPs, including all Cabinet ministers present, voted in the second and final round of voting for the law, which introduces two new articles to the country’s penal code. All five Shiite MPs present and liberal lawmaker Mohammad Al-Sager rejected the law, which becomes effective after its publication in the official gazette, Kuwait Today, which must occur within one month of the approval and acceptance by the government. Minister of Justice and Awqaf Jamal Shehab said the government will accept and implement the law."
I am somewhat perplexed by the mixed messages sent by the Shi'ite MPs during the debate.  According to the article, they both felt having a death penalty for blasphemy is contrary to Islam and wanted the Shi'ite imams included in those covered.  The law passes amidst heightened sectarian tension spilling over from Bahrain and perhaps Iraq, tension amidst which a Shi'ite is accused of criticizing early Companions of Muhammad who are important in Sunni Islam.



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