Kuwaiti women are not currently required by law to wear headscarves. However, when women were granted the right to run for office in 2005, some officials inserted a clause stipulating that the women abide by “Islamic law.” As we noted here, the details of that clause were never specified, providing a device legislators can call upon at any point where they feel the women need to be put in their place.
KUWAIT CITY – Kuwait’s new conservative-controlled parliament voted on Sunday to refer the case of two women ministers not wearing the hijab headscarf to its legal committee to establish if they broke the law.
The vote followed a token walkout by nine Islamist and tribal MPs in protest at the two women’s failure to wear the hijab.
Thirty-three MPs voted for the proposal put forward by a number of Islamist and tribal lawmakers during the first session of the parliament that was elected on May 17 in the oil-rich Gulf Arab state.
The proposal was opposed by 21 members, including liberal MPs and cabinet ministers who are ex-officio members of parliament.
The legal committee will now have to establish if the two ministers violated a law that requires women to “˜abide by Islamic regulations while voting or contesting the elections.”
Earlier nine MPs walked out of the chamber in protest against the two women ministers after members of the new cabinet began taking the oath.
One, Islamist Jaber Al Azemi, told reporters that the two ministers violated the law and that this was a challenge by the government to parliament.