Final Ruling Awaited in Kuwait Death Sentence for Insulting Islam
Kuwait's ruler has rejected a bill passed by parliament on June 6 that would approve the death penalty for Muslims who insult Islam, but the decision could be ultimately overridden by the elected assembly if they pass it again with a two-thirds majority vote, ASSIST News Service reports. The bill, initially passed by an overwhelming majority in parliament on May 3, also stipulates that Christians and other non-Muslims will be given a minimum prison sentence of 10 years for the same offense. According to International Christian Concern, such blasphemy laws, which are increasingly being enforced and expanded, are the greatest threat toward religious minorities, especially Christians, throughout the Middle East. "The so-called 'Arab Spring' ... is now giving rise to another form of tyranny -- Islamist-dominated governments that criminalize blasphemy to silence dissidents and stifle freedom of speech and worship," said Aidan Clay of ICC. "These laws will embolden radical Muslims to commit violent acts against perceived blasphemers, which, inevitably, will primarily target the Christian community and non-Sunni Muslim minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox." Anna Mahjar-Barducci of the Gatestone Institute wrote: "The Kuwait parliament seems to be seriously intending to bring Kuwait back to the Middle Ages. As well as introducing the death penalty for blasphemy, the Kuwaiti MPs have suggested banning swimsuits and requiring women to wear headscarves in public."