Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied what has been described as their “Trump like ban” on five Muslim countries.
Media sources over the past week claimed that Kuwait denied entry to citizens of five “majority Muslim countries”: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. It was rumoured that citizens of these countries would not have been able to visit Kuwait for any purpose, including for work, tourism or trade.
The Kuwait News Agency reported the Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Bureau, Sami Al-Hamad, saying the ministry “categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights.”
“The State of Kuwait believes that granting of visa is a sovereign matter, and not linked to terrorism or violence or nationality or faith.”
News of the alleged ban sparked outrage on social media over the weekend, with some branding Kuwait a country with “internalised Islamophobia”.
I guess the Kuwaitis hate Muslims. https://t.co/6fWJZDP06F
Wait a sec…
— Thomas Wictor (@ThomasWictor) February 3, 2017
I demand a #BodegaStrike!
Isamophobic Kuwait just imposes Visa Ban on five Muslim Nations, including Pakistan! https://t.co/xuU2ReDiJ6
— Amy Mek (@AmyMek) February 2, 2017
God damn internalised islamophobia https://t.co/cQ5mMgH1N7
— SickBoy (@GamingAnarchist) February 4, 2017
However, some rejoiced at the alleged ban, claiming Kuwait is heading in the right direction by following US President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”.
KUWAIT FOLLOWS TRUMP'S LEAD; IMPOSES VISA BAN ON MUSLIM COUNTRIES https://t.co/GUsW6psqVW
— Trumpnado (@JayS2629) February 3, 2017
Even Trump seems to have been confused by the situation branding the false story as “smart”.
Smart! ⬇️'Kuwait issues its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries | Al Bawaba'
Despite this news not being true, Kuwait’s immigration policy remains problematic. Mass deportations spiked dramatically last year, with 14,400 expats being deported within the first four months of 2016. In total, nearly 30,000 people were deported last year, around 80 deportations per day. Human rights organisations are continuously criticising Kuwait for its “kafala” system, which ties expats to their Kuwaiti sponsors.