Home Arab world Kuwaiti MP’s remarks on Hijab billboard spark controversy

Kuwaiti MP’s remarks on Hijab billboard spark controversy

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Safa Al-Hashem is the only female MP in Kuwait's 50-seat National Assembly. (Courtesy Kuwait Times)

A Kuwaiti MP has stirred nationwide controversy by criticizing a ministry advertisement aimed at encouraging women to wear the Islamic headscarf.

MP Safa Al-Hashem, the only female in the 50-seat National Assembly, tweeted a few days ago against a billboard carrying the slogan, “My Hijab … makes my life better.”

The advert is part of a pro-Hijab campaign by the country’s Ministry of Endowments.

Al-Hashem described the billboard as “strange,” despite noting that she is not against the notion of wearing the Islamic headscarf.

In a tweet, she argued that it is unacceptable for such ads to go on display in a “civil state” like Kuwait, which has a constitution “that guarantees personal freedom.”

Al-Hashem said she would rather see the country run a campaign to strengthen national unity instead, adding that she had requested the ministry to remove the roadside billboards on the topic.

Her comments landed her in hot water with religious-minded people and conservative lawmakers, who strongly lashed out at her and threatened the ministry if it agrees to take the ads down.

They responded to Al-Hashem by reminding her that Islam is the state’s official religion as per the constitution. They also added that the headwear is mandatory for Muslim women according to Islamic teachings.