Row erupts over wearing ‘hijab’

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 27: Constitutional, legal and academic experts have agreed on the unconstitutionality of the decision of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali regarding the conditions for a Kuwaiti woman to join the Kuwait Army; particularly the clause, “she should abide by the rule on wearing a veil (hijab),” which entails discrimination among applicants, reports Al-Qabas daily. In exclusive statements to the daily, the experts pointed out that wearing a veil as a condition to apply for public jobs contravenes the Constitution, which affirms protection of personal freedoms.

They added that wearing a veil is not a legal and constitutional requirement for joining the Army or occupying public sector jobs. A female citizen, who wants to join the Army but does not wear a veil, will be affected by this particular paragraph in the decision. She might file a case at the Constitutional Court to challenge the decision and the conditions for women to join the Army, they explained.

They stressed that “we live in a civil State governed by law and the Constitution, not ‘fatwas’ (edicts). Imposing a certain attire on people as a condition for public sector job application is considered interference and infringement on personal freedoms.” They asked: Why is the veil required for Kuwaiti women to join the Army when such condition is not applied in the National Guard and police force? “They also criticized the fact that the decision is based on the opinion of the Fatwa Authority in the Ministry of Awqaf, particularly the requirement that the guardian or husband should approve the application of Kuwaiti women who wish to join the military

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