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Kuwait to deport Egyptian imam
May 31, 2014, 11:48 am

Authorities reiterate zero tolerance towards turning mosques into political platform

Kuwaiti authorities are deporting an Egyptian imam for saying in his Friday sermon that the Egyptian presidential elections had been forged.

Kuwait had banned “interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries” by referring to them in sermons and warned of a zero-tolerance policy towards violators.

Reports in Kuwait said that the imam at Al Khrainej Mosque in Farwaniya failed to comply with the directives in his sermon.

The imam was delivering his weekly sermon when he referred to the elections in Egypt without naming the country.

“Elections were held in an Arab country and they are considered forged and unfair,” the imam reportedly said.  “The judges were unfair and participated in the fraud. There were no significant turnout at the polling stations, and the elections were rigged,” he said.

One of the worshippers at the mosque interrupted the sermon and addressed the imam.

“You should have no business talking about Al Sisi [the presidential candidate who won the elections], so talk only about religious matters,” the worshipper said.

However, the imam insisted that as an Egyptian, he had the right to criticise whatever happened in the homeland.

The exchange developed into an argument that was eventually settled to allow the Friday sermon and prayers to continue.

However, the police was called about the situation and moved in after the prayers to ensure the situation did not spiral out of control and took the imam and those involved in the verbal fight, believed to be all Egyptians, to the police station for questioning.

The imam in the beginning denied he referred to the situation in Egypt, but he was confronted with a recording of his sermon, local daily Al Qabas reported on Saturday.

Waleed Isa, the assistant undersecretary for mosques at the Ministry of Endowments, said that the services of the imam had been terminated and that he would be deported for non-compliance with Kuwait’s laws and regulations.

“We will not allow anyone whoever he may be to exploit mosques for political purposes,” he said, quoted by the daily.

An interior ministry source confirmed the incident.

“We received a call at around noon about a quarrel at a mosque between an imam and a group of worshippers over references to the elections in Egypt,” the source told Al Qabas. “The police went to the mosque and took the imam to the station for questioning. There is coordination between the interior ministry and the endowment ministry to finalise the procedures for his deportation.”

Kuwait this month decided to deport a group of Egyptians for holding a pro-Al Sisi rally near a polling station where fellow countrymen were casting ballots to choose their president.

Under Kuwait laws, foreigners cannot take part in political rallies.

The authorities are also deporting a group of Syrians for causing heavy damages at a local hospital following a brawl between friends and relatives of two men,

The fight was started in another location, but the relatives continued it at the hospital where one of the “fighters” was being treated.

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