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Women in Kuwait A Pictorial Essay


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Title: Women in Kuwait A Pictorial Essay

Women in KuwaitA Pictorial Essay
  • Geoff Dougherty
  • Professor of Applied Physics and Medical Imaging
  • California State University Channel Islands

Quick lesson in Arabic
Kuwait and its neighbors
? One of the richest little countries in the
world. ? With a population of only one million,
Kuwait sits on 10 of the world's oil
Kuwait City
Relief of liberation
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Abandoned Iraqi tank
The people
1. The Bedu
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2. The Hathar
The Souk
The Friday Souk
The Fish Souk
Women Clothes
Modern shopping malls
New houses..
The Society
  • Live music is generally prohibited.
  • In 2005, the minister of information had to
    resign when he was accused of failing to protect
    the country's morals by permitting a pop music
  • High-profile Arab singers, such as Lebanon's
    Nancy Ajram and Egypt's Ruby, are banned in
    Kuwait but are very popular on the music TV

Car crazy
  • For many young Kuwaiti men, the main outlet for
    their pent-up energy is their cars.
  • The level of car ownership in Kuwait has passed
    two per driver.
  • Young Kuwaiti men cruise around town for hours
    every evening, often at hair-raising speed.
  • Tail-gating is a national sport.
  • Every day there are fresh mangled carcasses of
    cars that have been completely written off.

Car wrecks
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Dark side ..Suppression of other religions and
extreme anti-semetism
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  • Although abuse was prevalent before the Iraqi
    occupation,25 the treatment of Asian maids took a
    turn for the worse following liberation,26 a
    trend now acknowledged by Kuwaiti officials.27
    Every year since liberation, over 2,000 Asian
    maids have sought shelter in their embassies.
    Most who fled their employers complained of rape,
    physical abuse, mistreatment or non-payment of
    wages, according to information we obtained from
    foreign embassies in Kuwait, Kuwaiti government
    officials, journalists, U.S. State Department
    officials and others.
  • In April 1995 over 200 maids were sheltered at
    the Philippines embassy, 150 at the Sri Lankan
    embassy and smaller numbers at other embassies.
    Without offering alternative shelters, the
    Kuwaiti government repeatedly asked embassies not
    to offer refuge to runaway maids.
  • Prompted by reports of abuse in Kuwait, the
    Philippines government banned Filipinas from
    going to work in Kuwait as maids. Nonetheless,
    many Filipinas still travel to Kuwait to work as
    housemaids, although some are lured by false
    promises of other kinds of jobs.

KuwaitCountry Reports on Human Rights
Practices  - 2005Released by the Bureau of
Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborMarch 8, 2006
  • The government improved its human rights record
    by granting women the right to vote however,
    serious problems remained. The following human
    rights problems were reported
  • no right to change the government
  • abuse of and alleged torture of detainees
  • official impunity
  • poor prison conditions in certain facilities
  • restricted civil liberties--freedoms of speech,
    press, assembly and association
  • limited freedom of religion and of movement
  • corruption
  • violence and discrimination against women,
    especially noncitizens
  • abuse of noncitizen domestic workers
  • unresolved legal status of bidoon Arabs
  • restricted worker rights

Women the Quran
  • Qur'an 2228And it is for the women to act as
    they (the husbands) act by them, in all fairness
    but the men are a step above them.
  • Qur'an 434Men are in charge of women, because
    Allah hath made the one of them to excel the
    other, and because they spend of their property
    (for the support of women). So good women are the
    obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah
    hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear
    rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds
    apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you,
    seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever
    High, Exalted, Great.

Women The Quran
Sura (2431) - Women are to lower their gaze
around men, so they do not look them in the eye.
  • Sura (2223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto
    you so approach your tilth when or how ye
    will..."  A man has dominion over his wives'
    bodies as he does his land.  This verse is
    overtly sexual  there is some dispute as to
    whether it is referring to the practice of anal
    intercourse, which it has been used historically
    to justify. 

Sura (43) "Marry women of your choice, Two or
three or four"
Women the Hadith
  • Bukhari (6301) - "Muhammad said, 'Is not the
    evidence of two women equal to the witness of one
    man?'  They replied in the affirmative.  He said,
    'This is the deficiency in her intelligence.'"
  • Bukhari (4, 54 464). The Prophet said, "I
    looked at Paradise and found poor people
    forming the majority of its inhabitants and I
    looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its
    inhabitants were women.
  • (A weak Hadith, Kanz al-ummal, 2210, suggests
    that 99 of women go to Hell).

Kuwaiti Women
  • Kuwaiti women are legally disadvantaged in
    matters of marriage, divorce, and inheritance,
  • must have the permission of a male relative to
    obtain a passport
  • and cannot confer citizenship on their children.

Voting Rights for Women
  • In 1999, the emir issued an emergency decree,
    while parliament was dissolved, granting women
    the right to vote. However, such decrees
    eventually must be approved by a majority vote
    when the national assembly reconvenes when it
    did, it rejected the measure by a vote of 32 to
  • The Islamist and tribal groups strongly opposed
    giving women the vote arguing that Islam
    prohibits the participation of women in politics

The revered Islamic scholar, al-Ghazali
(1917-96), wrote that the role of a Muslim woman
is to "stay at home and get on with her sewing. 
She should not go out often, she must not be
well-informed, nor must she be communicative with
her neighbors and only visit them when absolutely
necessary she should take care of her husband...
and seek to satisfy him in everything... Her sole
worry should be her virtue... She should be clean
and ready to satisfy her husband's sexual needs
at any moment."
The Right to Vote
March 2005
  • Women finally get the vote in May 2005
  • June 2006 Kuwait's first parliamentary elections
    in which women could vote - there were 27 women
    running in the elections, but none of them won a

Polling stations
Book Women in Kuwait The Politics of Gender
  • The author, a Kuwaiti sociologist, presents a
    disturbing analysis of the situation of women in
    contemporary Kuwait.
  • Examining the various factors that affect women's
    lives--class, family, state, Islamic revival, and
    Western feminism--she concludes that Kuwaiti
    women are partly responsible for their own
    second-class status.
  • Class-based women's organizations have no desire
    to change the roles of women, she argues, but
    have perpetuated the belief that women are
    biologically different from men, with their own
    specific needs and duties.

Tolerance for others?Not for Jews, Christians,
polytheists, aetheists
If anyone desires a religion other than Islam,
never will he be accepted of God and in the next
life, he will be in the ranks of those who have
lost themselves and will burn in hell. (Qur'an
? The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the
Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is
a saying from their mouth (in this) they but
imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say.
Allah's curse be on them how they are deluded
away from the Truth! ( Quran 930)

? Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will
be among those most humiliated. (5820 )
? And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is
in the heavens and the earth, willingly or
unwillingly (1315)
Bukhari (59727) - Allah's Apostle said...
"Allah's curse be on the Jews and the 
Christians"  This was spoken on Muhammad's
death bed, and was one of the last things that he
ever said.
Listen not to the unbelievers, but strive (Jihad)
against them with the utmost strenuousness.
Bukhari (52269) - "The Prophet said, War is
Bukhari (49857) - "He who makes peace between
the people by inventing good information or
saying good things, is not a liar."  Lying is
permitted when the end justifies the means.
Persecution of Ex-Muslims
  • Islam is the only religion in the World which
    does not give freedom to its followers to change
    their faith. According to Shariah Law, Muslims
    who leave Islam must be sentenced to death.
  • But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay
    them wherever ye find them (Quran 489)
  • .for the Prophet said, If somebody (a Muslim)
    discards his religion, kill him . (Hadith
    alBukhari 452260))
  • according to the statement of Allah's Apostle,
    'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill
    him.' (Hadith AlBukhari 98457)

Kuwait Persecuted Convert Flees to America
  • October 7, 1996
  • After six months in the limelight of
    unprecedented international advocacy, Hussein
    Qambar Ali, a Muslim convert to Christianity,
    fled his native Kuwait in mid-August to an
    undisclosed location in the United States.
  • Christian Solidarity International (CSI), an
    interdenominational human-rights group that helps
    persecuted Christians, flew the 44-year-old
    former Muslim out of Kuwait.
  • Hussein, who has changed his first name to
    Robert, was ruled an apostate by an Islamic court
    on May 29. Under Islamic law, any Muslim who
    deserts Islam is forcibly divorced, divested of
    parental and inheritance rights, and subject to
    execution if unrepentant.


Most Kuwaitis do not explicitly support Islamic
fundamentalists . but there is little
tolerance for other religions and a strong
animosity towards Judaism.
Kuwaiti women struggle to assume a greater role
outside the home encumbered by religion and
tribal traditions.

Find out more
  • http//memritv.org/ (Middle East Media Research
    Institute TV Monitor Project)
  • http//thereligionofpeace.com/
  • http//www.carm.org/islam.htm
  • http//www.amazon.com/Women-Kuwait-Politics-Haya-a
  • Video Islam What the West Needs to Know

Hospitality coffee and tea
National and Liberation days
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Windows and doors .
Private houses.Old style
Architectural styles
Our abode
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The ruling family the Al Sabahs
The ruling family the Al Sabahs (up to 2006)
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Kuwait University Shuwaikh campus
Students and faculty
Visiting faculty
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  • Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the
    al-Sabah family. The ruler, or emir, chooses the
    prime minister and the members of the Council of
  • It was the first Arab country in the Gulf to have
    an elected parliament.
  • Political parties are illegal in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti society
  • There is a bizarre dichotomy within Kuwaiti
    society, between modernisers and traditionalists,
    with the latter well represented in parliament
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