Kuwaiti with the big cigar advocates ‘joy’
Kuwaiti lawmaker Nabil al-Fadhl provoked angry reactions from fellow members of parliament when he proposed the repeal of a 2004 law that prohibited dancing at concerts and festivals.
Al-Fadhl, who last year threatened to resign from the country’s Ummah Council if bikinis were banned, further outraged conservatives this week with his response to a question posed – with apparent sarcasm – whether he would also support the legalisation of alcohol.
Fadhl, who apparently likes living dangerously, reportedly replied:
He called his oil-rich Persian Gulf state:
A country with no joy.
He pointed out that drinking was tolerated in earlier times and that banning alcohol had led to the emergence of a black market where a bottle of spirits can be sold for more than $400.
Alcohol has been banned since 1964 and drinking has been a criminal offense since 1983, according to an account of the lawmaker’s comments on the Gulf News website.
Al-Fadhl reportedly told fellow lawmakers:
Let us put an end to this masquerade that turned Kuwait into a country with no joy. I call upon the minister of information, Shaikh Salman Al Humoud Al Sabah, to take a bold decision that brings joy and happiness back into Kuwait.
Iran’s late Ayatollah Kohmeini, above, must today be groaning in a darkened room somewhere in paradise, for he once declared:
Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.
There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious. Islam does not allow swimming in the sea and is opposed to radio and television serials. Islam, however, allows marksmanship, horseback riding and competition …
Media in the gulf area, where most countries have severe restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, quoted al-Fadhl as saying he had been hit with a lawsuit by fundamentalist colleagues accusing him of besmirching Kuwaiti history.
The Kuwait Times quoted lawmaker Saud Huraiji as saying:
Al-Fadhl is distorting the history and the image of Kuwait and its people who have elected him.
The newspaper said the Islamist Social Reform Society had also strongly condemned al-Fadhl’s position on behaviors that it said violated the principles of Islam.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are the only two states with an absolute ban on alcohol, although access to liquor is restricted to hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners in much of the region. Iranian courts as recently as 2012 upheld death penalties for people convicted of drinking alcohol.
Al-Fadhl has previously stirred controversy with his challenge of the constitutionality of Kuwait’s nationality law that prohibits the naturalisation of non-Muslims.
He said that the nationality law’s blocking of citizenship for adherents of other faiths:
Is a disgrace to the law and does not in any way reflect the values of the Kuwaiti people.