wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08KUWAIT154 2008-02-07 16:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

REPORTED DEATH THREAT AGAINST MP OPPOSING GENDER

Tags:   PGOV PHUM KDEM KWMN KISL KU 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2012
RR RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #0154 0381606
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071606Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0763
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L KUWAIT 000154 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/ARP AND HRR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2018
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KWMN KISL KU
SUBJECT: REPORTED DEATH THREAT AGAINST MP OPPOSING GENDER
SEGREGATION IN SCHOOLS

REF: A. KUWAIT 0090

B. KUWAIT 0043

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Alan G. Misenheimer for reasons 1.4 (b
) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: On February 5, liberal MP Ali Al-Rashed
submitted an amendment to Parliament to eliminate the gender
segregation requirement in private universities. The bill
follows a recently brokered deal between the GOK and Islamist
MPs to enforce long-neglected gender segregation legislation
(ref A). In response, Al-Rashed has said he received a death
threat - unusual in Kuwait - from an unidentified caller who
claimed that the bill "is not in line with Kuwait's Islamic
traditions." Islamist MPs were quick to condemn the threat.
END SUMMARY.



2. (U) On February 5, liberal MP Ali Al-Rashed submitted a
bill on behalf of the pro-government National Democratic
Alliance (NDA) to amend existing legislation requiring gender
segregation in Kuwaiti universities. Specifically, the bill
would amend a 1996 law requiring segregation at Kuwait
University and the Public Authority for Applied Education
(PAAET), as well as a 2000 law requiring the same at private
universities. While Kuwait University and PAAET are
currently gender-segregated, the private universities are
not. Since its passage, a series of liberal Education
Ministers have taken no steps to enforce this legislation.
Nevertheless, Islamists tend to dominate the ranks of the
Ministry of Education, and this has long been a bone of
contention between them and the GOK.



3. (C) In January, Islamist MP Saad Al-Shraye grilled
(publicly questioned) Education Minister Nouriyah Al-Sabeeh
in an attempt to remove her from office. During the
grilling, Al-Shraye raised the topic of ineffective gender
segregation in Kuwaiti primary schools. While Minister
Al-Sabeeh acquitted herself well during the grilling,
Parliament nevertheless moved for a motion of no-confidence
(ref B). In response, the GOK brokered a deal with Islamist
MPs to support Al-Sabeeh in exchange for enforcement of the
2000 law requiring gender segregation in private universities
(ref A). Islamist MPs are reportedly considering a bill to
expand this segregation requirement to primary and secondary
schools as well.



4. (U) Defending the bill, Al-Rashed said the two segregation
laws have had serious negative consequences on university
students and have created unnecessary expenses for the
universities. He also said that sharia does not expressly
prohibit mixing of the sexes. Al-Rashed appears to have
submitted the bill on behalf of liberal constituents to
challenge the well-organized and politically savvy Islamists.




5. (U) After presenting the amendment, Al-Rashed said he
received a call from someone who threatened to shoot and kill
him if he did not withdraw it. The caller said the amendment
was "not in line with Kuwait's Islamic traditions."
Al-Rashed reported the incident to the Ministry of Interior,
which is investigating. Islamist MPs were quick to condemn
the threat, which as received broad attention in Kuwaiti
media, and instead called for conflict resolution through the
democratic process.

Comment


--------------------------





6. (C) Extremist death threats are unusual in Kuwait, and
pro-government MP Al-Rashed has put Islamist MPs on the
defensive by playing up the issue publicly. The GOK-brokered
deal to save liberal Education Minister Nouriyah Al-Sabeeh
has raised the gender segregation issue to the forefront of
national attention, and MPs on both sides of the argument
seem prepared for a protracted fight. END COMMENT.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *
MISENHEIMER