A Story of Persecution from Kuwait

June 5, 2013 by Open Doors in Stories of Persecution

The Kuwaiti Constitution declares that the State protects the freedom of belief. However, it also mentions some limitations: the practice of religion should not conflict with public order or morals and be in accordance with established customs. The government implemented these restrictions from time to time. According to the constitution, Islam is the state religion and Islamic law (sharia) is an important source of legislation.

Conversion from Islam to another religion is not permitted and the government actively supported proselytism by Sunni Muslims. For MBBs, the main persecution engines are family and Muslim extremists, and to a lesser extent authorities. There are only a few hundred Kuwaiti believers (MBBs), as most Christians are migrant workers from outside the country. The MBB number is growing rapidly and they are becoming bolder and bolder in sharing their faith. Converts risk discrimination, harassment, police monitoring of their activities, arbitrary arrest and detention, physical and verbal abuse. Also, a change of faith (away from Islam) is not recognized and is likely to lead to legal problems in personal status and property matters in court. The government requires Islamic religious instruction for all students in public and private schools.

Teaching Christianity is prohibited, even to legally recognized Christians. The Christian community mostly consists of foreign migrant workers. Expat Christians are relatively free to worship informally. There are four registered denominations which meet in compounds. However, these are too small for the number of people gathering and local Kuwaiti’s are annoyed by the noise and traffic of these overcrowded meeting places.

The extreme difficulty to obtain property to gather for worship is an extra burden. On the other hand, the sharing of meeting places has encouraged greater cooperation and fellowship among churches.