The bill, which requires the approval of parliament and government to become law, proposes stiff penalties of up to 15 years in jail for those found guilty of resorting to violence on the basis of a misinterpretation of the Islamic faith.

The draft legislation was submitted by Abd al-Wahhab al-Harun, who is considered a liberal, and Yusuf al-Zalzala, a Shia Muslim, on Saturday.

Four policemen and nine insurgents were killed and 10 security officers wounded in clashes between security forces and suspected Muslim fighters in January.

The authorities have arrested more than 30 suspected members of a group in connection with the gun battles and say they are linked to al-Qaida.

Political prisoners

The bill forbids the use of mosques for slandering others or attempting to disrupt Kuwait's relations with other countries.

Kuwait has been affected by the
situation in neighbouring Iraq

It calls for setting up a special council for religious edicts comprising scholars and thinkers from various specialisations, which will be the sole authority for issuing fatwas (religious edicts).

The bill also bans publications that promote hatred against any group in society or instigating others to kill based on religious interpretations.

Kuwait, a key US ally, has arrested scores of men since the US invaded neighbouring Iraq in April 2003.

Amnesty International, a human-rights group, says there have been unconfirmed reports of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees in the country.