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Kuwait parliament may ban bikinis
May 28, 2014, 4:27 pm
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A parliamentary committee in Kuwait has endorsed a proposal to ban women’s “nudity” in public places and hotel corridors.

MP Hamdan Al Azemi, the head of the anti-social behaviour committee, said that women’s bathing suits were “alien to the Kuwaiti culture and could not be accepted or tolerated.”

The lawmaker told local daily Al Rai that there was no need for a specific definition of “nudity”.

“None of the negative phenomena that are alien to the Kuwaiti culture need to be specifically defined,” he said. “They are anything that clashes with the precepts of Islam and the norms and traditions of the Kuwaiti community,” he said in the remarks published on Wednesday.

Beach decency has gained great attention recently in Kuwait as conservative lawmakers and officials have been stressing the need for all residents to “respect the character of the Kuwaiti society and avoid what amounted to acts of provocation.”

They insisted that “wearing a bikini is not a personal choice or a matter of personal freedom,” but rather “an assault on local values and sense of decency and modesty.”

This week, a mother in Kuwait lost the custody of her children after her ex-husband showed the court a picture of her wearing a bikini and standing with an unrelated man on a beach in another country to argue she was not fit to raise them.

“The mother cannot be trusted to raise the children properly and the picture as an example indicates a lack of modesty and a deficiency in her morals that erode trust in her and result in public disdain as society assesses her actions morally or religiously,” Yousuf Hussain , the father’s lawyer, said.

Lawmaker Al Azemi used the court verdict to support the decision by the parliamentary committee to ban bathing suits.

“The court clearly ruled that wearing bathing suits is a phenomenon that is alien to the Kuwaiti traditions and values,” he said. “The judges agreed that the mother’s beach outfit made her unfit for the custody of her children,” he said.

The decision by the committee will have to be approved by the parliament before it is referred to the government. If it is accepted by the ministers, it is enacted as a binding legal text.

 

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