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)
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The billboard featuring the slogan, “My hijab … makes my life better.” (Courtesy Twitter)
Updated 14 April 2018
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Kuwaiti MP’s remarks on Hijab billboard spark controversy

  • Advert part of a pro-Hijab campaign by the country’s Ministry of Endowments.
  • Al-Hashem said she would rather see the country run a campaign to strengthen national unity.

Cairo: 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.


Egypt arrests activist Hazem Abdel-Azim, former El-Sisi supporter

Updated 27 May 2018
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Egypt arrests activist Hazem Abdel-Azim, former El-Sisi supporter

  • Egyptian security officials say a prominent activist has been detained

CAIRO: Egyptian security officials say a prominent activist has been detained, the latest in a new wave of arrests since presidential elections earlier this year.
The officials say Hazem Abdel-Azim was taken from his home in a Cairo suburb late Saturday on accusations that include disseminating false news and belonging to an outlawed group.
Abdel-Azim has been known for his harsh criticism of the government since he left President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s campaign in the 2014 elections.
The officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to media.
Egypt has arrested a number of secular activists since El-Sisi was re-elected in March in a vote in which he faced no serious challengers.
The latest arrests come amid a wider crackdown on dissent in which thousands of people have been jailed.