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By Mr. Ali Al-Baghli, Former Minister of Oil, Kuwait.
ONE can only be ashamed of the noise created by some religious extremists in the country over the last few days. The entire hullabaloo was about a building under construction in an ideal housing area — South Surrah (Haiteen). Residents of the area thought that a Husseiniya was being built for the Bohra community in Kuwait. So, where did these citizens go? The answer is well-known — they went to one of the members of the 2006 Parliament who is known for his non-progressive ideas. MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, who represents Kaifan, took it upon himself to voice the opinion of the residents of Haiteen because his future electoral constituency will include this area. He started issuing some extremist statements and criticized the construction of a “temple” for Bohras. (Al-Tabtabaei used the word ‘temple,’ which is a place of worship for non-Muslims like Buddhists and Hindus).
Bohras are a peaceful community who came to Kuwait decades ago. They supported Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion in 1990. The spiritual leader of Bohras Sultan Mohammed Burhanuddin was a close friend of HH the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and is also close to the current Amir HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Bohras are Muslims who believe in God and follow the teachings of Islam. Reality dawned when people came to know the building under construction was not a Husseiniya for Bohras but a house. Someone had purchased the building to live with his brothers and their families as he wanted to be close to his family.
I want to ask those who created the racket to put themselves in the place of Bohras and imagine they are living in a foreign country … and if they wanted to construct a house of worship and if people of the neighborhood objected to the construction of their praying place what would they do?