Kuwait set for women's rights battle

The battle is raging in Kuwait over political rights for its disenfranchised women as supporters and opponents trade heated arguments on the eve of a crucial parliament meeting.

    Kuwaiti women plan to stage a rally outside parliament

    Women's rights activists and their liberal supporters plan to stage a rally outside parliament on Monday as the leader of the Islamic Salaf Alliance threatened to "fill" the streets with anti-women's rights supporters. 

    "If the government allows the (pro-women) procession, we are prepared to fill up the Gulf Road (outside parliament) with people opposed to women's rights," Khalid Sultan al-Isa told an anti-women rally late on Saturday. 

    Al-Isa and his group oppose women's rights on a religious basis, claiming that under their strict interpretation of Islam, women have no political rights. 

    'Extremist ideology'

    Rula Dashti, the main organiser of the pro-women rally, however, said the procession would go ahead as planned and women fighting for their legitimate rights would not be intimidated by "extremists". 

    "This is an extremist ideology. They want to hijack this country. Kuwait is for all people of different ideologies. We will organise the procession tomorrow," Dashti, chairwoman of the Kuwait Economic Society, told reporters. 

    Parliament will discuss on Monday a government request to speed up the debate on a women's rights bill, and set a date for its discussion. 

    The bill calls for amending article one of the 1962 electoral law which limits voting and candidacy to male citizens, whereas the constitution stipulates gender equality.



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