Manama: A Kuwaiti parliamentary committee has endorsed a proposal to ban persons found guilty of blasphemy from entering the country.

Under the proposal presented by lawmaker Abdul Rahman Al Jiran and discussed by the legal and legislative committee on Sunday, any person convicted of contempt of religions or penalised for derision of Islam, Islamic beliefs or the Prophet’s (PBUH) companions or family members will be banned from entering Kuwait.

The proposal to amend the 1959 Alien Residence Law will have to be approved by the parliament and subsequently accepted by the government to become valid.

Kuwaiti authorities have had to deal with controversial religious figures who have tried to whip up sectarian passions with statements and stances targeting particular sects or their revered figures.

Lawmakers have often called for imposing bans on the participation of such divisive personalities in forums or lectures in the country.

In some cases, the government has been forced to take stringent action to eliminate threats to social peace. In September 2010, it stripped Yasser Al Habeeb, a controversial religious figure, of his citizenship, accusing him of flagrant incitement that threatened social peace. The decision to revoke Al Habeeb’s citizenship was based on Article 13 of the 1959 Kuwaiti Citizenship Law, the government said.

“The government agreed to revoke the Kuwaiti nationality of Yasser Yahya Abdullah Habib Gulam Al Habeeb and of those who acquired it through their association with him,” a government spokesperson said at the time. “The government has also requested the competent authorities to launch legal procedures against Al Habeeb for his heinous crimes,” the spokesperson added.

Al Habeeb, who lived in London where he has exiled himself since 2004, caused divisive social problems after he hosted a ceremony in his London office in 2009 where he made disparaging remarks against Aisha, Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) wife.

Aisha is venerated by Muslims as the Mother of Believers and Al Habeeb’s insults to her integrity and honour triggered vociferous protests and rallies by Kuwaitis.

In January 2010, the authorities barred Mohammad Al Oraifi, a Saudi religious figure whose “bitter and painful” criticism of Iraq’s top religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani had sparked outrage among Shiites in several countries, from entering Kuwait.