Kuwaiti anger over calls to ban Christmas

Civil society groups condemn calls from radical organisations for Christmas celebrations to be banned.

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KUWAIT CITY // Several Kuwaiti civil society groups have joined forces to condemn calls from some radical organisations and individuals for Christmas celebrations to be banned.

In Al Jarida newspaper yesterday, they said that every year, certain groups declare that celebrating Christmas and New Year was forbidden from an Islamic point of view.

"Because such actions represent an insult to Christianity and Christians ... we strongly reject the publication of such calls," they said in a statement signed by nine groups. Such calls were an act of hatred that has been criminalised under international law, they added.

They did not specify who had issued the calls, but they usually come from radical religious individuals and small groups.

Mainstream Islamic organisations do not issue such calls and there are no government restrictions on celebrations. Kuwait has about a dozen churches that all freely celebrate Christmas. There are only about 200 Christians among the 1.2 million native population but 642,000 foreign Christians live in Kuwait .