CAIRO – Kuwaiti lawmakers vowed on Saturday, May 19, to continue their efforts to amend the constitution to make all legislation in the Gulf Arab state comply with Islamic Shari`ah law despite the ruler’s move to block a similar proposal earlier this week.
“The process of making laws comply with Islamic Shari`ah is ongoing through efforts made to discuss regulations that contradict with Shari`ah,” said Deputy Speaker Khalid Al-Sultan in statements published by Al-Rai, Kuwait Times reported on Saturday, May 19..
The statements come a day after Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah disagreed to add a clause to Article 79.
The rejected proposal was submitted by 31 of the 50 elected members of parliament demanding to change article 79 to make Shari`ah “the only source” of legislation rather than a major or main source as it is now.
“HH the Amir’s observed that regulations in Kuwait already comply with Islamic regulations and are derived from the Constitution supporting Islamic laws,” said MP Badr Al-Dahoom of the Justice Bloc which proposed the aforementioned amendment.
Islamist MPs have proposed amending the constitution in this way several times in the past.
The approval of Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, is needed for any constitutional change.
“His highness the emir is not in favor,” Mohammad al-Dallal, an Islamist MP and legal expert, told Reuters.
Political parties are banned in Kuwait so MPs have to rely on forming blocs in parliament.
The 15-member cabinet selected by the prime minister can also vote in parliament.
Lawmakers vowed to continue their efforts to proceed with a project to amend Article 2 of the Constitution, making Islamic Shari`ah the only source of legislation.
“The Justice Bloc is currently studying all laws in Kuwait to see if any article contradicts with Islamic Shari`ah so that we can propose an amendment,” MP Al-Dahoom told Al-Rai.
“Islamization of laws will continue until it is time to propose Article 2 amendment.”
MPs added that a lot of people in the Kuwaiti society request that laws comply with Shari`ah.
“We must think again about convincing the emir or submitting it again in another format,” MP Dallal told Reuters.
“Our society is a conservative society, a lot of people request that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law).
“We also do not have a stable political system,” he said, adding such an amendment could help make lawmaking less chaotic.
Like elsewhere in the region, Islamists have made political gains in the major oil producer.
With many campaigning on an anti-corruption platform, Islamists increased their share of parliamentary seats in Kuwait after a snap election in February which ushered in its fourth parliament in six years.
Kuwait, a regional US ally, is ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy and states Islam as its official religion.
About 85 percent of Kuwait’s population is thought to be Muslim. The next biggest groups are expatriate Hindus and Christians.
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