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Kuwait denies move to restrict graveyards to citizens
December 24, 2013, 10:56 am
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Proposal not to bury non-Kuwaitis sparks angry reactions

Kuwait Municipality has vehemently denied reports that it was considering restricting burials in Kuwaiti graveyards to Kuwaiti nationals.

“There was a proposal to confine burials to Kuwaiti citizens,” Muhalhal Al Khalidi, the president of the Municipal Council, said. “We fully and strongly reject this proposal and there is no way that we will apply it.

"There will be no meeting to discuss it as it is totally out of consideration. Such a proposal that discriminates between people really hurts us badly,” he said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Rai on Tuesday.

The proposal was included in a memo sent last week by Fahad Al Musbahi, acting assistant director general of municipal services, to the director general of Kuwait Municipality to recommend restricting graveyards and cemeteries to Kuwaiti nationals.

Al Musbahi said that the rise in the number of foreigners being buried in Kuwait resulted in the use of lands allocated for Kuwaiti nationals and proposed that the graveyards should be only for the country’s citizens.

Expatriates could be buried in Kuwait only in “very special cases” and in cemeteries designated by the authorities, he said.

The memo, published by a Kuwaiti daily, sparked angry reactions by Kuwaitis who condemned it.

Ahmad Al Subaih, the head of the municipality, said that there would be no change whatsoever to the policy of burying the dead, regardless of nationality.

“Such a proposal cannot be accepted or tolerated in Kuwait and there will be discrimination between Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis,” he said. “The proposal was (contained) in an internal memo between departments and it was not part of a decision or a plan. There can never be an approval to ban the burial of non-Kuwaitis here,” he said.

Municipality councilors said they were outraged by the call.

“Islam as a religion and a set of values does not at all tolerate such nonsense and Al Musbahi will be investigated for his proposal,” Fahad Al Sayegh said. “I will call for the investigation when the Council convenes on Monday. He has no right to submit a proposal to the director general of the municipality, any way and he should not in any case call for discriminating between people,” he said.

Nayef Al Soor, another councilor, said that the proposal “did not make sense at all.”

“We will go far in this issue because the proposal is totally rejected and should not have been made in the first place. We will investigate the matter and any proposal should be carefully studied before it is submitted,” he said.

Councilor Hassan Kamal said that there was no logic about the suggestion to limit the graveyards t Kuwaitis.

“There is plenty of land and cemeteries are everywhere. We do not want the municipality to wade into the issue of where people should be buried,” he said.

 

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