KUWAIT CITY, (AFP) — A hardline Kuwaiti Islamist MP on Sunday threatened to call for the prime minister to face a grilling in parliament after the government made music classes compulsory in schools.
“We hold the prime minister responsible for this decision… We call for halting this, otherwise, we will use constitutional tools. This could lead to grilling the prime minister,” Mohammad Hayef told reporters.
“We will not allow our schools to become centres for graduating dancers,” said Hayef, who belongs to a group of ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists who consider, among other things, that music is prohibited under Islam.
Music has always been part of the curriculum in Kuwaiti schools despite opposition from hardline Islamists but the education ministry decided to include music as part of students’ overall marks effective at the beginning of the school year in September.
“What is required now is for the ministry to revert to the old system, otherwise, we will submit a draft bill to ban music from schools,” Hayef said.
He said the education ministry’s decision was an attempt to Westernize Kuwaiti society.
Liberal and independent lawmakers meanwhile blasted Hayef’s move as a threat against democracy in the Gulf state.
“Hayef’s threat to grill the prime minister over music education is like playing the funeral music of the national assembly (parliament),” independent MP Faisal al-Duwaisan said in a statement.
He was referring to chronic political wrangling in Kuwait that has led to the dissolution of parliament three times since February 2006 and the formation of six cabinets during that same period of time.
Liberal woman MP Maasuma al-Mubarak expressed her shock and the threatened attempt to grill the prime minister would further worsen the already strained relations between the government and parliament.
“I expected grillings on any issue but music,” Mubarak told reporters.
“A threat to grill (the prime minister) over these issues will put relations between the government and parliament at stake,” she said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahamd al-Sabah, a nephew of the ruler, has been threatened with a number of grillings by MPs over a variety of issues barely two weeks after the start of the new parliamentary term.
Over the past few years, the Kuwaiti government has tightened the screws on musical concerts under pressure from Islamist and conservative MPs who have been the dominant force in parliament.
Under the regulations, men and women must be segregated at concert venues, where the audience is strictly banned from dancing.
A few months ago, a concert by Egyptian pop singer Tamer Hosni was stopped by information ministry supervisors after a teenage girl went up to the stage and kissed him on the cheek.