THIS is what we know and it was revealed in documents and figures that Al-Jarida newspaper published on its front page on Feb 28 with the headline, “Social Affairs bows to charitable organizations.”
This is what we witness and feel daily whenever we visit areas in and outside the country where we see huge villas surrounded with luxury cars and a billboard dangling from the roof with writings contradicting the splendor and crew of such structures or those in charge of them along with their luxury cars.
The villa belongs to one of the fundamentalist organizations or societies which we have been plagued with and affiliated to the ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Salafis’; while the committee is a charitable unit for the collection of ‘Zakat’ or alms, for digging wells or building mosques and other clichés that we are accustomed to.
We beg to ask: Are these committees, which are scattered in every area in Kuwait licensed by the Social Affairs Ministry that has oversight over everything concerning non-profitable organizations?
Does this ministry issue licenses to non-profitable organizations or their branches without breaking a sweat which we experienced at Kuwait Human Rights Society as we waited for more than 10 years before it was made public?
Soon after the society was made public, it was said that the rightly-guided government would declare it as a fundamentalist human rights society in order to prevent influential fundamentalists from criticizing the government; in addition to forfeiting the KD 12,000 annual support fund.
The question begging for an answer is: With all these branches of charitable committees scattered everywhere like cancer cells in a body, where do they get all these funds?
It is difficult for an individual to answer these questions. The government is unable to answer them or just ignores them due to the fact that every monster has its own monster.
Back to the front page story of Al-Jarida which runs as follows: “The Social Affairs Ministry is confused over the closure of branches of charitable organizations.
“All attempts made in the past years to close these branches failed. It is here once again, back to square one – forming a new committee to look into the mechanism for closing these branches.
“Over the past five years, only 30 percent of these branches were closed. This result affirms the committee’s weakness in dealing with some organizations or its inability to take action against them.
“It was mentioned that the number of branches deemed unlicensed reached 141 for five charitable organizations. The ministry closed 56 of these branches and the remaining 86 branches which violated the law belong to three major charitable organizations…”
We wish to call to mind the courage of the government during the tenure of former minister Hind Al-Sabeeh when two charitable organizations – ‘Thaqalein’ and ‘Hurriya’ – were shut down in cold blood without hearing any opposition.
The government is a lion when dealing with some groups; whereas with others, especially the fundamentalist groups backed by religious factions with their strength and influence in the political arena, the government is an ostrich and everyone is a witness to this.
This includes the senior personnel who are fully aware of the repercussions of messing with the interests of some religious factions, particularly the ones with millions – the source of their strength and increasing support.
Here we are, thousands of us present public opinion through journalism, writing and protest against violation of laws in broad daylight.
Why is the government not taking action? Why we do not see one of the MPs brandishing interpellation in this regard?
The answer lies in the fact that our government and Parliament completely believe they have might and strength. In the past, we would have nicknamed them ‘monster,’ but they are fully aware of their limits as per the adage: “Every monster has its own monster.”
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil