A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for lifting restrictions imposed one decade ago on organising concerts and musical shows in the country. “The restrictions that were imposed in 2004 to satisfy the demands of the religious lawmakers and avoid the quizzing of the then minister of information have failed,” MP Nabeel Al Fadhl said.
“Kuwait has suffered tremendously from the negative consequences of these restrictions and the major effects include the rise of extremism, forcing several people to go to other countries on holidays and the emergence of a sense of loss among young people who keep parading with their cars to impress girls,” he said.
The information ministry should now step in and address the situation by lifting the restrictions that the government, under the pressure of the circumstances in 2004, was forced to accept, he said.
“The conditions that obliged the government to accept the restrictions do not exist now, so 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,” he said.
Restrictions were imposed in 2004 after 31 of the parliament’s 50 lawmakers objected to a concert performed by singers from the Star Academy reality show. The lawmakers said that the concert and the television show were against the values and tenets of Islam and that they allowed the mixing of unrelated men and women, dancing and unacceptable acts.
“Such shows should not be organised or attended or encouraged in any way, including by providing assistance and investments,” they said. “The state has a duty to ban such shows to protect public morals.”
A compromise offered by the government was refused by the lawmakers who threatened to grill the information minister and escalate the situation.
The government eventually gave in to the demands, but its stance triggered angry criticism from liberals who said that the decision was a serious threat to public freedoms.
Al Fahdl’s move to lift the restrictions on musical shows is his second in as many days to address what he sees as odd situations. On Monday, he filed a petition to the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional a paragraph in the Nationality Law that restricts granting the Kuwaiti nationality to Muslims.
The lawmaker said that the condition was not in line with the text and spirit of the constitution and that non-Muslims should have the right to be naturalised. He added that he approached the court and not the parliament to avoid causing a split among the lawmakers.