09/20/2018, 19.55
KUWAIT
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Muslim clerical and political leaders against shop selling statuettes, calls them idols

From social media, the controversy spread to parliament where an MP calls for a ban on selling statuettes. For one Muslim cleric, the statuettes are more dangerous than alcoholic beverages. Conversely, others view anti-statuette attitude as ‘irrational’.

Kuwait City (AsiaNews) – A shop specialising in making 3D statuettes has become embroiled in a controversy with some of Kuwait’s most conservative clergymen, almost turning a minor issue into a national cause célèbre. In fact, a Member of the Kuwaiti parliament has taken the issue to the house after it sparked a heated debate on social media.

Some Muslim clergymen view such items as idolatry, believing that any human representation – paintings or sculptures – constitutes a violation of Islamic traditions and rules as laid down by the prophet Muhammad.

Since it started, the controversy just got worse as conservatives slammed this type of commerce and its promoters. Many want the shop shut down, and the owner’s license revoked.

The store uses 3D scanning booths and printers to create lifelike replicas of people; for conservatives, such miniatures and statuettes will be worshipped as idols within a few years.

“What this shop is doing is an abomination and it must be closed immediately,” said Othman Al Khamees, a religious figure. “[I]t is more dangerous than liquor stores, because it revives the issue of idols.” Islam outlaws the consumption of alcoholic beverages and transgressors can be punished with flogging.

Abdul Rahman Al Nassar created a hashtag to put pressure on the government to shut down the shop. For him, the real threat will materialise within years. “The grave concern is that the statues would be idolised later,” he insisted.

Likewise, lawmaker Mohammad Hayef Al Mutairi believes that selling statues in Kuwait should not be allowed.

However, other Kuwaitis reacted with amazement and outrage at the whole controversy, even some clerics.

Hamad Al Sinan, another Kuwaiti religious figure, said that when the early Muslims entered Egypt, they took no action against the Sphinx. “There is no logic in issuing calls to ban figurines or replicas. Let us rise above such illogical, irrational thoughts,” he said.

One Kuwaiti posted a picture of a statue of Ronald McDonald, the clown character used as the mascot of the McDonald fast-food chain, saying that no religious leader has said anything about it.

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