Kuwaiti parliament approves death penalty for cursing prophet Muhammad

‘This is a victory for Islam,’ says one MP; first law of its kind in Arab world now needs leader’s approval

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Kuwaiti parliament (Flickr/Creative Commons/File)
Kuwaiti parliament (Flickr/Creative Commons/File)

The parliament of Kuwait passed a bill Thursday imposing the death sentence for cursing God or the Prophet Muhammad, Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya reported.

The bill, which passed with a 41-6 majority, is the first of its kind in the Arab world, according to the report. The bill still needs to be ratified by Kuwait’s leader, Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Sabah, before becoming law.

Member of Parliament Ahmad Lari, one of the six who voted against the law, told Al-Arabiya that he did not oppose the idea of severely punishing blasphemers, but that he merely disagreed with the ambiguous wording of the bill. MP Salah Ashour, however, said the law contradicted Islamic Sharia law, and that it was bad for Islam’s image.

The law also prescribes the death penalty for those who curse the Prophet’s wives or claim prophetic abilities.

“Today, we lead the world through this law,” MP Faysal Al-Muslim told Kuwaiti establishment daily Al-Watan. “It is a triumph for the Prophet to execute those who harm him and his wives, and especially Aisha the pure. Cursing them shames us all.”

Endowments Minister Jamal Shihab told Al-Watan that the government does not intend to block the law, and will act to implement it.

A Kuwaiti citizen was arrested in the past for mocking the prophet and his wife on Twitter, Al-Arabiya reports, but could not be tried under existing Kuwaiti law.

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