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Kuwaiti MP’s call for demolishing churches ignites controversy

A Kuwaiti MP's proposal to demolish all churches in the country and only allow mosques to be built has sparked widespread controversy in Kuwait.

Last week Osama al-Monawer said he would submit a proposal to Kuwaiti parliament to tear down existing churches and prevent the construction of new ones.

On Twitter he said "I am astonished at those who defend keeping the churches even though most of so-called secular Europe now prevents the building of mosques."

Monawer is a well-known Islamist lawyer who has routinely defended extremist Islamists in Kuwait, and has been detained by secret police in the past.

In elections that finished a month ago, Islamists won 34 out of 50 seats in Kuwait's Parliament. Liberals only won two seats.

Kuwaiti MP Ahmad Lary told Kuwaiti al-Rai that freedom of belief is upheld by Kuwait's constitution and so it is not possible to ban church building.

Lary added that there needs to be a firm stand against these "calls for alienation" particularly since Christians have long been a part of the Kuwaiti social fabric.

MP Nabeel al-Fadl also said he was surprised by the proposal and told Al-Watan newspaper that those who support the idea are not aware that if the same restrictions were applied to Muslims in Christian-majority countries, the harm inflicted on Muslims would greater than that on Christians.

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