Kuwait deployed unprecedented security measures around Shiite mosques for Friday prayers following last week’s deadly bombing, as His Highness the Amir attended a rare Shiite-Sunni joint ceremony in a show of unity. Thousands of Shiite and Sunni worshippers held a rare joint prayer at the Grand Mosque, Kuwait’s largest place of worship for Sunnis.
Armoured vehicles, elite forces and policemen stood guard outside the mosque, where the mercury hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). All roads leading to the mosque were off limits to vehicles and worshippers were thoroughly searched before they were allowed inside. Prayer leader Sheikh Waleed Al-Ali, a Sunni, called for national unity and urged Muslims to abandon extremist ideology. He stressed the importance of moderation in Islam, warning against disregarding sanctity of blood. “Extremism has led to this bloodshed,” he said in his sermon.
Both Sunni and Shiite worshippers stood in rows beside each other, each praying according to their tradition. “Our message today is that Kuwait is united and nothing will ever succeed to divide us,” Abdullah Nuri, a Shiite engineer, said. “The highly positive reactions by our Sunni brothers after the blast made us very satisfied,” Nuri said. Shiite cleric Abdullah Al- Nejada said: “this is a proof that Sunnis and Shiites are the same and that they (terrorists) will not succeed in dividing this country.” Kuwait, declaring itself in a state of war against “terrorism,” has placed security forces and the police on high alert. A large number of suspects have been arrested, and five sent to the public prosecution. “This is a clear message to terrorists that you will not succeed in your plot. This is the Kuwaiti response to you,” MP Khalil Abul said as he left the mosque.
On Wednesday, Parliament approved $400 million (360 million euros) in emergency funding for the interior ministry. IS’s Saudi affiliate, the Najd Province, claimed the bombing and identified the assailant as Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid. Kuwaiti authorities have named him as Fahd Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Qabaa and said he was a Saudi born in 1992.
A number of senior officials said that the Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque gave a wonderful image of the unity and cohesion of the Kuwaiti people in the face of sedition that targets the country’s stability and security. Following the prayers, the officials in press statements, lauded the society’s cohesion and support for the wise leadership to avoid any attempts by anybody seeking to destabilize the country and tear apart its social fabric.
As long as the Kuwaiti society supports its wise leadership, and the leadership, government and National Assembly are united, none couldn’t undermine the country’s security or divide its people, Minister of Justice, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sanea told reporters. All Kuwaiti people express their gratitude to the wise leadership, he said.
“We are proud of humanity and nobility of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, our great leader, who moved immediately to inspect the scene of the blast that hit Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait City last Friday,” the minister said. On his part, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar said that the gathering of Kuwaitis at the Grand Mosque depicted a scene of unity among the people.
He added that the presence of His Highness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Speaker of National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim and the government at the mosque during Friday prayer today showed the unity and cohesion between the Amir and people. Meanwhile, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Dr. Adel Al-Falah said that performing Friday prayer at the mosque today in the presence of His Highness the Amir gave a better message to the whole world about the unity of Kuwaiti people and showed that any terrorist act will not weaken this unity but strengthen it.
The prayer gave also a distinguished image of tolerance of Kuwaitis, he noted. MP Ahmad Lari said that the terrorist blast that hit Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque last Friday was a tragic event, but the unity of Kuwaiti people deprived terrorists of opportunity to incite sedition inside the society.
The presence of His Highness the Amir in the first early minutes of the blast gave a positive image to the whole world that Kuwait is a country of friendship and peace, he made clear. On his part, Assistant Undersecretary for Television Affairs at the Ministry of Information Yousef Mustafa said that the Kuwaiti people gave a great image of national unity during Friday prayer today. He added that the world today saw the unity among all segments of Kuwaiti people.
Last Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque, killing 26 worshippers and injuring 227 others. In a related development, dozens of Shiites and Sunnis prayed side by side Friday in a mosque near the capital of Bahrain, a country hit since 2011 by Shiite-led protests against its Sunni rulers. Residents said tight security was in place for the special session of weekly prayers in a mosque at Diraz, a Shiite village west of Manama.
The interior ministry ordered a strong police presence following deadly bombings at Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait carried out by Sunni extremists over the past two months. The joint prayers were a show of Bahraini “unity in the face of those plotting against the Arab and Islamic world”, said Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al-Khalifa. Bahraini authorities, backed by volunteers, have stepped up checks on those entering mosques for Friday prayers in the wake of the attacks elsewhere in the Gulf. Bahrain is the only Arab monarchy of the Gulf with a Shiite majority, which has been demanding political reforms.
Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said that an emergency meeting for GCC interior ministers highlighted the “intricacy and danger at the current stage,” and the need to face this terrorism through coordination. Gulf states are aware of the “conspiracies, sedition and terrorist acts being planned against them, which need to be tackled in a decisive, forceful, prepared and coordinated manner,” he told KUNA after attending these talks.
The need “to work to support and shield our (Gulf) society from deviant and extremist ideologies which target our youth,” was another point the minister stressed on. He hailed the extent of understanding and cooperation he sensed amongst the attendees, mentioning that the minister had vowed their support for anything that might threaten the security of the sixnation geopolitical bloc.
After the talks, ministers expressed their condolences over the victims of a suicide blast that martyred 26 people and injured 227 inside a mosque on Friday, to His Highness the Amir, to the families of those killed and to the Kuwaiti people. In their final statement, the ministers expressed “extreme condemnation for the terrorist attacks that target the people and stability of GCC states,” adding that “these attacks have no relation whatsoever to the faith of Islam and its tolerant values that denounce violence, killing innocent life and causing damage and destruction.”
They also denounced two similar attacks on places of worship in Saudi Arabia, and other terrorist attacks in Bahrain and Somalia, where a United Arab Emirates humanitarian aid convoy was targeted in an explosion. They hailed the unity and solidarity of the Kuwaiti people during their ordeal, saying that the stance sent a strong message to the terrorists that the attack will do nothing towards dividing the people of the land and will be met with failure.
They also hailed the quick response of Kuwaiti authorities and their decisive reaction in apprehending the co-conspirators in the attack. The incident has shaken the GCC, Arab and Islamic communities, they said, expressing condolences over the victims and their best wishes for a swift recovery for those injured, while pledging commitment to tackling terrorism collectively. Commenting on the results, Kuwait’s Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled went on to mention that the meeting reflected “a sense of unity and integration amongst the neighbourly nations in facing difficulties and crises”.
Source: Arab Times