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    » 11/05/2010, 00.00

    KUWAIT

    Islamic fundamentalists preventing the construction of a church in Kuwait



    The government and the emir have approved the project but the Kuwait City Municipal Council refuses to issue building permits or explain its reasons for doing so. About 460,000 Christians share four official churches, two Catholic, one Evangelical and one Anglican. A Coptic church is under construction.

    Kuwait City (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A group of Christians has complained that Kuwait City’s Municipal Council is preventing them from getting land to build a church. "The Municipal Council is the big problem preventing us from getting land; not all of the members, just the Islamic fundamentalists," said Archimandrite Boutros Gharib, head of the local Greek Catholic Church.

    Recently the municipal council blocked an attempt by the Greek Catholic Church to acquire land in Mahboula, an area in the Ahmadi governorate south of Kuwait City. The request has been pending for several years.

    A new church would reduce over-crowdedness in a villa currently used for worshiping, Fr Gharib said.

    According to the Greek Catholic clergyman, both the government and the country’s leader, Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, have given their approval and blessing to the Church to have its property built. However, the Council has not followed suit. What is more, “The council did not give us any reason,” he added.

    “We found the higher levels of government say yes and the lower levels of government say no,” said Rev Andrew Thompson, the Anglican chaplain to Kuwait, who stressed that religious fundamentalists controlled the municipality.

    The church said the government had proposed an area of 7,500 m2 with land for buildings and parking.

    Greek Catholic Church board member Elian Farah said the government suggested parishioners use the parking facilities of two schools under construction nearby on the weekends and the evenings in addition to their dedicated parking area.

    Fr Gharib noted that his church is paying US$ 6,944 a month for a villa that is also shared by two other congregations. If they did not find land soon, the church would have to close, he said. "It's all excuses. It's all lies," he said. "Every time they promise, but all their promises are for nothing."

    The one success the Christian community has had in the past 40 years came when Egyptian Copts secured land for their church, but even they have had trouble getting a building permit.

    The Greek Catholic community in Kuwait includes about 650 families, and they are not the only Christian group struggling to find space to worship in the country.

    Around 460,000 Christians have to share four official churches—two Catholic, an Evangelical and an Anglican—plus the Coptic church under construction.

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    See also

    24/03/2011 INDONESIA
    Yasmin Church: the mayor of Bogor revokes permit for church
    The official reason is false signatures on application, but it is believed to be an excuse. Christians and rights groups denounce a decision contrary to the law and a political will to appease Islamic extremist groups.

    26/03/2012 INDONESIA
    Authorities in Riau cancel building permits for Catholic church already under construction
    The building site was seized on 21 March, and is now surrounded with barbed wire. For Catholics, it is a patent violation of religious freedom since the building committee had all the right papers. Some local Muslim groups claim that signatures were falsified. The local government said it wants to use the site for an agricultural research centre.

    13/02/2006 KUWAIT
    First female candidate to run in Kuwait poll
    A chemical engineer is the first woman to run for a seat on Kuwait City's municipal council since a new suffrage law came into effect last year. The country's next parliamentary elections are due to take place next year.

    17/01/2012 INDONESIA
    Yasmin church: radical Islamists attack two members of parliament during Sunday celebration
    Two members of the Islamic party and the Democratic Party pkb PDI-P who were participating in a ceremony Sunday with the congregation of the Church Yasmin were insulted and verbally assaulted. The congregation has had to interrupt the liturgy, and move elsewhere, but even there the radicals have prevented the celebration. The inertia of the central government and the complicity of the mayor.

    10/03/2011 INDONESIA
    Yogyakarta: Muslim leader gets Protestant church to close
    A Muslim guru accuses Christian clergyman of proselytising, describing his church as illegal and without a building permit. In reality, the pastor is in favour of interfaith dialogue, funding the education of five Muslim children without trying to convert them. Sources tell AsiaNews that the whole thing was a setup by the self-styled Muslim leader, even though no one knows who is or where he comes from.



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