Kuwaiti MPs threaten to grill govt over ‘disco’ scandal


These accusations of negligence and fraud were brought up during a seminar titled "Who’s behind the bar and disco caf鳿" which was organized by "Thawabet Al-Umma," the Islamist parliamentary block led by MP Mohammad Hayef at his diwaniya in Ferdous on Monday evening.

The gathering was attended by MPs and former MPs representing various Islamic movements in the National Assembly. The speakers condemned the "secret approval" of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Commerce and Kuwait Municipality for deliberately permitting activities like prostitution and liquor drinking in a number cafthat serve as dance halls or bars. MPs said they would not allow this kind of behavior to pass by unpunished, emphasizing the responsibility, and even involvement, of some government
officials in spreading such "pornographic behavior.

The scandal began when a local newspaper (Al-Watan) published pictures of "dance clubs" operating in different areas of Kuwait during the Eid holidays, where youngsters can, allegedly, pay for escort services and obtain liquor drinks with ease. The scandal seems to be testing the already complex and delicate relations between the National Assembly and the government before the parliamentary term begins.

Keynote speaker and organizer of the event, Mohammad Hayef, accused the government of hypocrisy by saying, "The law is implemented literally on poor people who take their sheep to the desert for pasture, but this kind of behavior is given the green light ‘below the table.’" Hayef went further and accused some government officials of taking part in these parties. He asked, "Who’s attending these cafand getting a table far from the reach of cameras and even for free of charge?" The speaker placed the responsibility in combating the issue on "the whole government," but the biggest blame was placed on the prime minister. "It is the responsibility of the prime minister to order his ministers to implement the law," he said, adding, "We will not be silent about this, and we will deal with those responsible for this shameful behavior." MP Hayef threatened to confront the activities even if the National Assembly was dissolved.

MP Mubarak Al-Waalan also slammed a number of government officials over the scandal and accused the Ministry of Commerce of allowing suspicious activities to take place by neglecting their responsibilities. "The committee that was formed at the Ministry of Commerce in 2008 to bring about a solution to regulate "hotel apartments" has not had a single meeting since its establishment," he said. Al-Waalan asked the government to do its part and warned that that the prime minister was not excluded from being held accountable for these activities.

MP Jamaan Al-Harbash added that the Ministry of Interior failed to stop illegal activities from occurring on Kubbar Island, arguing that these activities were protected by parties "more powerful" than the minister himself. "There are powerful individuals who say, ‘This island is for us, you can go and implement your conservatism on the Kuwaiti mainland,’ but now, it seems like the activities have arrived to Fahad Al-Salem Street," Al-Harbash said.

Khaled Al-Sultan, a Salafi MP, indicated in his speech that the government held double standards. "They place recorders for preachers in mosques, and if the preacher makes a single mistake, he will be held accountable. Meanwhile, this kind of behavior is intentionally ignored.

Some speakers laid blame on the committee designated to investigate alien phenomena in Kuwait for not doing its job. Meshaal Al-Mealet, a Salafi movement representative, argued that the committee was "hijacked" by those who do not believe in it in the first place, while Fahad Al-Khanna, a former MP, called the committee itself a "negative practice" and asked the head of state and those in charge to stop the violators.

MP Hussein Mizyed event went so far as to ask the public to organize peaceful demonstrations in order to "deliver the message to decision makers that these activities are not accepted.


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