Kuwait lawmakers campaign against Twitter abuse


Islamists in Kuwait, stepping up pressure in their battle to have social networks monitored, have called for a massive rally on Sunday
  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Manama: Islamists in Kuwait, stepping up pressure in their battle to have social networks monitored, have called for a massive rally on Sunday.
The call was reportedly prompted by the posting of a new message on Twitter targeting Aisha, the wife of Prophet Mohammad [PBUH].
Kuwaitis said that Abdullah Khalaf, a stateless Arab who had moved to London to work for Yasser Al Habeeb, the self-exiled religious figure whose Kuwaiti nationality was revoked for his attacks on the relatives and companions of Prophet Mohammad [PBUH].
The rally is a message against those who use the networks to abuse Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and his relatives and companions, the Islamists, including several lawmakers, said.
“It seems that some people have not really drawn lessons from what happened to those who insult the Prophet or his family or his companions,” MPs Waleed Al Tabtabai and Musallam Al Barrak said.
'Abusive remarks'
“We need a strong mobilisation to address this matter. The interior minister has been requested to take action against those who posted the abusive remarks,” they said.
Al Tabtabai said that the interior minister informed him that the security agencies are exerting efforts to locate the person behind the insults.
The use of social networks has slid into deep controversy in Kuwait following the posting of remarks that targeted religious icons and seemed to be part of an expanding sectarian standoff.
Authorities in Kuwait last week said that they planned to regulate the use of social networking as a move to ease protests prompted by cases of alleged blasphemy and ominous sectarianism.
Sunni and Shiite MPs clashed over a draft law that would make insulting God or Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] punishable by death.
Several Kuwaitis have expressed concerns that social networks are being used not just to share gossip and advertise events, but also to promote political and sectarian agendas.
A Sunni writer has been sentenced to seven years in jail and a heavy fine for insulting Shiites on Twitter while a Shiite was arrested for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] on Twitter.
Shaikh Mohammad Al Mubarak Al Sabah, the information minister, last week said that the government was in the process of establishing laws that will allow competent agencies to regulate the use of the different new media outlets, including social networks, in order to maintain and reinforce national unity.