Gulf | Kuwait

Kuwait MPs may question PM on Iranian cleric visit

Four Kuwaiti deputies said on Sunday they would seek to question the prime minister over a visit by a controversial Iranian Shiite cleric.

  • By Duraid Al Baik, Associate Editor
  • Published: 18:11 November 16, 2008
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Four Kuwaiti Members of Parliament signed an inquiry on Sunday demanding that the head of government come up with an explanation as to why Iranian Shiite cleric Mohammad Baqer Al Fali was allowed into the country despite being charged in the first degree by a Kuwaiti court of insulting Abu Baker and Omar Bin Al Khatab, the first and second Caliphs who led the Muslim empire after the death of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The two Caliphs are held in high regard by Sunnis, while Shiites revere the fourth Caliph, Ali, who was a cousin of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The dispute erupted when Shiite cleric Al Fali, 51, landed at Kuwait International Airport on Thursday, returning to the country after a brief stay in Iran. Al Fali, an Iranian born in Iraq, came to Kuwait 21 years ago to lecture in one of the largest Shiite mosques in the city. Al Fali was charged with insulting the Prophet's (PBUH) companions, highly respected by the Sunni majority in the country.

Dr Walid Al Tabtabai, representative of the Sunni Salafi bloc in Parliament, issued a 24-hour ultimatum against the government on Friday demanding the deportation of Al Fali immediately. There was no response from the government when the ultimatum expired, suggesting the bloc would go ahead and question the prime minister.

Al Tabtabai told Gulf News that the parliament is aware that the official responsible for allowing Al Fali into the country is Shaikh Jaber Al Khalid Al Sabah, the Minister of Interior, but unfortunately, the Prime Minister in this case is the one to be blamed because he failed to protect society against sectarian rifts between the Sunni and Shiite components in the government.

Abdul Moneim Al Sisy, political analyst and Parliamentarian expert, said the government is evaluating the situation and would most probably send a letter to the Emir informing him about its conflict with the Parliament.

"The government is currently preparing a letter excusing itself from pursuing its duties because of lack of cooperation from the parliament. The letter will be handed over to the Emir immediately after his arrival from the UN trip to New York," Al Sisy said.

He said four MPs have expressed their willingness to question the prime minister. "The petition was signed by Dr Abdullah Hashir Al Batghash, Mohammad Hadif Al Mutairi and Mohammad Rai Al Mutair in addition to myself," Al Tabtabai said.

Hussain Al Galaf, an MP in the Shiite bloc, told a press conference in Kuwait that the issue of Al Fali's return to Kuwait is being blown out of proportion.

News Editor's choice
Gulf weather