10/21/2008, 00.00
KUWAIT

Two female Kuwaiti ministers risk "dismissal" for not wearing the veil

A parliamentary committee has decided that their attire, without the hijab, violates the constitution and the electoral law. The matter will now be submitted to a vote in parliament.

Kuwait City (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The only two women in Kuwait's executive branch risk being driven out from the government. The parliamentary legal committee has decided that their presence violates the constitution and the law, because they do not wear the hijab, the Islamic veil. The committee's statement will now be submitted to voting by the fifty members of parliament.

The Kuwaiti parliament is dominated by conservatives, who had four of the seven seats on the committee. But three "liberals" also voted against the two women. "The committee unanimously decided that appointing the two ministers in the cabinet violated article 82 of the constitution and article one of the election law for failing to abide by Islamic regulations," says Ali al-Hajeri, spokesman for the legal and legislative committee.

The two women under accusation (shown in the photo at a parliamentary session) are education minister Nuriya al-Sebih and administrative development minister Mudhi al-Humoud. Appointed following the elections on May 17, the two women immediately met with negative reactions from conservatives. At its first session, on June 1, parliament approved submission of the matter to the committee, which has now decided. That same day, as cabinet members took the oath, nine parliamentarians left the hall in protest against the "un-Islamic" attire of the two women.

In inaugurating the second parliamentary session today, emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah made no reference to the matter.

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