An update on this story. The court decided to uphold the constitution, despite pressure to ignore it in favor of Sharia (which sure seems to be happening in a lot of places lately). Not that this will stop Islamist legislators from harping on the issue in the future.
“Court rules hijab optional for MPs,” by James Calderwood for The National, October 29:
KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait’s female MPs will not be forced to wear a hijab or have their parliamentary membership invalidated after the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest legal authority, rejected a case by a Kuwaiti man who said they broke rules relating to Islamic dress.
The man, identified as Hamad al Nashi, urged the court to cancel the membership of the two female MPs – Aseel al Awadhi and Rola Dashti – who did not wear the hijab, thereby violating an article of the election law that states: “A condition for women to vote and be elected is to abide by the rules and terms of Sharia law”.
Islamists say the Sharia clearly states that women must wear the hijab.
In its ruling, the court said the article of the election law was not specific and therefore could be interpreted in different ways. It said Sharia could apply to many things, including beliefs, morals and actions, and comes from many sources such as the Quran, the Sunna, and other traditions and customs.
That was the point: To use the lack of limitations on Sharia’s scope to keep women legislators in line, or force them out of office.
If the court had ruled that the women were in violation of the election law when they were elected, their membership in parliament could have been cancelled, legal experts said. “I’m very happy it’s been rejected,” Ms al Awadhi, one of Kuwait’s four female MPs, said after receiving the news of the court’s decision. “So we’re not going to wear the hijab in the Majlis,” Ms al Awadhi said, using the first word of Majlis al Umma, the Arabic name for Kuwait’s national assembly….