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Kuwait revokes citizenship of prominent Muslim cleric

The Kuwaiti cabinet decided on Monday to revoke the citizenship of a prominent Islamic cleric along with nine other Kuwaitis, citing “security reasons”.

Al-Resalah newspaper reported that this decision was apparently taken over their public statement in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

In its weekly meeting led by Prime Minister Sabbah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabbah, the cabinet decided to revoke the citizenship of Dr Nabil Al-Awadi based on article 13 of the Kuwaiti citizenship law.

In his first public response to the decision, Awadi, who is reportedly close to the Muslim Brotherhood, said via Twitter: “I will remain faithful to my country Kuwait… and loyal to his Highness my Prince… and loving and advising to the people of Kuwait, my family… and I pray for Allah to protect Kuwait and its people from all evil.”

Gulf authorities routinely harass Islamic clerics due to their political stances, especially their stance on Palestine, which is a popular cause.

On 22 July, the Kuwaiti cabinet revoked the citizenship of Ahmed Jaber Kadhim Al-Shammari, owner of Al-Youm satellite channel and Al-Alam Al-Yaoum newspaper for reasons of “public interest” and that of former opposition MP Abdullah Al-Barghash, claiming he acquired his citizenship “through fraud”.

Human Rights Watch denounced these actions as a “crackdown on people seeking reform”. The organisation’s MENA head Joe Stork added that, “No government has the right to strip away its people’s citizenship simply because it disapproves of them, their opinions, or their actions.”

The government in Kuwait is reportedly investigating an alleged plot to overthrow the ruling system, further fuelling the crackdown.

 

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