This is a story about what happens nowhere in the world whose wide world but in Kuwait and there are not many like it.
It is a story of a man who was born in a modest family of an Arab father and a Kuwaiti mother. When he was young, he was very ambitious and had an overwhelming desire to achieve something in life and ultimately he ended up with a group of religious people. As he prepared his way forward he added something to his name, the word ibn which means ‘son of’.
He then grew his beard, started wearing short dishdashas and wore a red head cover (ghutra), after getting rid of trousers and oqal. He indulged himself in the practice of religious quackery to earn money and fame, allegedly began to treat people who were suffering from incurable diseases. He also specialized in allegedly casting away evil spirits from people suffering from psychiatric problems until he made a fatal mistake — a stupid attempt to drive away an evil spirit from the body of a Kuwaiti.
He reportedly beat the man severely and as a result, the man died making his wife widow and making the children ‘orphan’. He was sentenced to imprisonment but ‘religious’ people threw their support behind him, his jail term was reduced and some or the other way succeeded in getting the Kuwaiti citizenship like many of us.
This is in spite of his bad record, notorious reputation and forging his family name. A television channel hosted him and made him a star and ended up having an army of followers and supporters. He began to issue fatwas, and fabricated historical facts and spoke about these facts on TV channels. He was not only satisfied with destroying the minds of a few university students but also the collective minds of hundreds of thousands of viewers, who were ignorant.
Motivated by fake enthusiasm, the success he had achieved, the money he had earned, and the support of the local, regional and religious forces, he forgot his roots as to who he is, where he came from and his actual size. He became more ambitious and using the TV to his advantage, he not only became a star but a well-known preacher. He joined politics when doors were thrown wide open for him. He began to denounce decisions taken by the government and forgot the grace and the blessings that were bestowed on him by making moves hostile to the government. He also began supporting people who were hostile to the State, the military and the religious movements and started denouncing the government decisions and supporting those who were hostile to the State and supported the call for jihad.
As time passed by he drifted towards the socalled opposition, the movement that aspired to bring the Arab Spring to Kuwait. Suddenly, the government pulled the carpet from under the feet of the media that was his shelter. He was now in the open and there ‘was no roof over his head’. He continued to err and the consequences were severe because it resulted in the revoking of his nationality which he had obtained illegally.
He was finally cut down to size. He did not care much about the decision that had stripped him off the Kuwaiti nationality. He did not even bother to protest, compared to others whose nationalities had been withdrawn. This is perhaps because he knows very well that he did not deserve it in the first place and because he had already made a good fortune through his preaching and so now nothing really mattered.
There is talk that his citizenship may be reinstated although earlier he had spoken ill about a ‘Kuwaiti family’. If this is true, it will be a big tragedy. It will be something that can happen only in a country like Kuwait and nowhere else.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf