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Women in Kuwait A Pictorial Essay. _______________________. Geoff Dougherty Professor of Applied Physics and Medical Imaging California State University Channel Islands. Quick lesson in Arabic. Kuwait and its neighbors. Kuwait. ● One of the richest little countries in the world.

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Women in Kuwait A Pictorial Essay

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women in kuwait a pictorial essay

Women in KuwaitA Pictorial Essay


Geoff Dougherty

Professor of Applied Physics and Medical Imaging

California State University Channel Islands


● One of the richest little countries in the world.

● With a population of only one million, Kuwait

sits on 10% of the world's oil reserves.

the people
The people

1. The Bedu

the society
The Society
  • Live music is generally prohibited.
  • In 2005, the minister of information had to resign when he was accused of failing to protect the country's morals by permitting a pop music concert.
  • High-profile Arab singers, such as Lebanon's Nancy Ajram and Egypt's Ruby, are banned in Kuwait … but are very popular on the music TV channels …
car crazy
Car crazy
  • For many young Kuwaiti men, the main outlet for their pent-up energy is their cars.
  • The level of car ownership in Kuwait has passed two per driver.
  • Young Kuwaiti men cruise around town for hours every evening, often at hair-raising speed.
  • Tail-gating is a national sport.
  • Every day there are fresh mangled carcasses of cars that have been completely written off.
Although abuse was prevalent before the Iraqi occupation,25 the treatment of Asian maids took a turn for the worse following liberation,26 a trend now acknowledged by Kuwaiti officials.27 Every year since liberation, over 2,000 Asian maids have sought shelter in their embassies. Most who fled their employers complained of rape, physical abuse, mistreatment or non-payment of wages, according to information we obtained from foreign embassies in Kuwait, Kuwaiti government officials, journalists, U.S. State Department officials and others.

In April 1995 over 200 maids were sheltered at the Philippines embassy, 150 at the Sri Lankan embassy and smaller numbers at other embassies. Without offering alternative shelters, the Kuwaiti government repeatedly asked embassies not to offer refuge to runaway maids.

Prompted by reports of abuse in Kuwait, the Philippines government banned Filipinas from going to work in Kuwait as maids. Nonetheless, many Filipinas still travel to Kuwait to work as housemaids, although some are lured by false promises of other kinds of jobs.

KuwaitCountry Reports on Human Rights Practices  - 2005Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborMarch 8, 2006

The government improved its human rights record by granting women the right to vote; however, serious problems remained. The following human rights problems were reported:

  • no right to change the government
  • abuse of and alleged torture of detainees
  • official impunity
  • poor prison conditions in certain facilities
  • restricted civil liberties--freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association
  • limited freedom of religion and of movement
  • corruption
  • violence and discrimination against women, especially noncitizens
  • abuse of noncitizen domestic workers
  • unresolved legal status of bidoon Arabs
  • restricted worker rights
women the qu ran
Qur'an2:228And it is for the women to act as they (the husbands) act by them, in all fairness; but the men are a step above them.

Qur'an4:34Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

Women: the Qu’ran
women the qu ran1
Women: The Qu’ran

Sura (24:31) - Women are to lower their gaze around men, so they do not look them in the eye.

Sura (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will..."  A man has dominion over his wives' bodies as he does his land.  This verse is overtly sexual;  there is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse, which it has been used historically to justify. 

Sura (4:3)"Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four"

women the hadith
Women: the Hadith
  • Bukhari (6:301) - "[Muhammad] said, 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?'  They replied in the affirmative.  He said, 'This is the deficiency in her intelligence.'"
  • Bukhari (4, 54: 464).The Prophet said, "I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.“
  • (A weak Hadith, Kanz al-`ummal, 22:10, suggests that 99% of women go to Hell).
kuwaiti women
Kuwaiti Women
  • Kuwaiti women are legally disadvantaged in matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance,
  • must have the permission of a male relative to obtain a passport
  • and cannot confer citizenship on their children.
voting rights for women
Voting Rights for Women
  • In 1999, the emir issued an emergency decree, while parliament was dissolved, granting women the right to vote. However, such decrees eventually must be approved by a majority vote when the national assembly reconvenes; when it did, it rejected the measure by a vote of 32 to 30.
  • The Islamist and tribal groups strongly opposed giving women the vote –arguing that Islam prohibits the participation of women in politics

The revered Islamic scholar, al-Ghazali (1917-96), wrote that the role of a Muslim woman is to "stay at home and get on with her sewing.  She should not go out often, she must not be well-informed, nor must she be communicative with her neighbors and only visit them when absolutely necessary; she should take care of her husband... and seek to satisfy him in everything... Her sole worry should be her virtue... She should be clean and ready to satisfy her husband's sexual needs at any moment."

the right to vote
The Right to Vote

March 2005

  • Women finally get the vote in May 2005
  • June 2006: Kuwait's first parliamentary elections in which women could vote - there were 27 women running in the elections, but none of them won a seat.
book women in kuwait the politics of gender
Book – Women in Kuwait: The Politics of Gender
  • The author, a Kuwaiti sociologist, presents a disturbing analysis of the situation of women in contemporary Kuwait.
  • Examining the various factors that affect women's lives--class, family, state, Islamic revival, and Western feminism--she concludes that Kuwaiti women are partly responsible for their own second-class status.
  • Class-based women's organizations have no desire to change the roles of women, she argues, but have perpetuated the belief that women are biologically different from men, with their own specific needs and duties.
tolerance for others not for jews christians polytheists aetheists
Tolerance for others?Not for Jews, Christians, polytheists, aetheists …

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will he be accepted of God; and in the next life, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost themselves and will burn in hell. (Qur'an 3:85)

● The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! ( Qur’an9:30)

●Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. (58:20 )

●And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly (13:15)

More …

Bukhari (59:727) - Allah's Apostle [said]... "Allah's curse be on the Jews and the  Christians" 

This was spoken on Muhammad's death bed, and was one of the last things that he ever said.

Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad) against them with the utmost strenuousness. (25:52)

Bukhari (52:269) - "The Prophet said, “War is deceit”. 

Bukhari (49:857) - "He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."  Lying is permitted when the end justifies the means.

persecution of ex muslims
Islam is the only religion in the World which does not give freedom to its followers to change their faith. According to Shariah Law, Muslims who leave Islam must be sentenced to death.

But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them (Quran 4:89)

….for the Prophet said, If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him . (Hadith – alBukhari 4:52:260))

…according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.' (Hadith –AlBukhari 9:84:57)

Persecution of Ex-Muslims
kuwait persecuted convert flees to america
Kuwait: Persecuted Convert Flees to America
  • October 7, 1996
  • After six months in the limelight of unprecedented international advocacy, Hussein Qambar Ali, a Muslim convert to Christianity, fled his native Kuwait in mid-August to an undisclosed location in the United States.
  • Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an interdenominational human-rights group that helps persecuted Christians, flew the 44-year-old former Muslim out of Kuwait.
  • Hussein, who has changed his first name to Robert, was ruled an apostate by an Islamic court on May 29. Under Islamic law, any Muslim who deserts Islam is forcibly divorced, divested of parental and inheritance rights, and subject to execution if unrepentant.

• Most Kuwaitis do not explicitly support Islamic fundamentalists …. but there is little tolerance for other religions … and a strong animosity towards Judaism.

• Kuwaiti women struggle to assume a greater role outside the home … encumbered by religion and tribal traditions.

find out more
Find out more …
  • http://memritv.org/(Middle East Media Research Institute; TV Monitor Project)
  • http://thereligionofpeace.com/
  • http://www.carm.org/islam.htm
  • http://www.amazon.com/Women-Kuwait-Politics-Haya-al-Mughni/dp/0863563589
  • Video … Islam: What the West Needs to Know
Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the al-Sabah family. The ruler, or emir, chooses the prime minister and the members of the Council of Ministers.
  • It was the first Arab country in the Gulf to have an elected parliament.
  • Political parties are illegal in Kuwait.
kuwaiti society
Kuwaiti society
  • There is a bizarre dichotomy within Kuwaiti society, between modernisers and traditionalists, with the latter well represented in parliament