A remark by a Shiite parliamentarian referring to Kuwaiti citizens who are being held in the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as terrorists elicited a violent response from fellow Sunni lawmakers.
Shiite Calls Kuwaiti Prisoners “Al Qaeda Militants”
Kuwaiti lawmakers were meeting to discuss what should be done about the two Kuwaitis which the United States has so far refused to release. When Shiite MP Hussein Hussein Al Qallaf dismissed the two prisoners as “Al Qaeda” militants, Sunni lawmakers took extreme umbrage.
Sunni Muslim Brotherhood member Jamaan Al Harbash lashed out at Qallaf, saying that the lawmakers were not called to meet in order to discuss Al Qaeda, but rather to discuss the prisoners.
Angry Words Turn Quickly to Fisticuffs
As a result of this exchange others joined into the fray, which then led to blows between two Shiite and four Sunni MPs, prompting the acting speaker of the house, MP Abdullah Al Rumi to dismiss the session.
Later on, the speaker of the parliament Jassim Al Kharafi said that the incident was “shameful.” Kharafi decided to adjourn all further sessions of parliament until May 31st and also called for an investigation of the incident by the parliamentary bureau for investigations.
MP Rudhan Al Rudhan called for the parliament to be suspended of an entire month, asking the country’s leader to use his constitutional powers to close down the house.
Another Type of Terrorism
MP Adnan Al Mutawa, a Shiite who was cut under his eye during the brawl, accused the hardline MPs of not understanding the meaning of democracy, or at least not believing in it. He said that the attack by them on their opposing MPs is just another “form of terrorism.”
“A Kuwaiti from any sect can make mistakes, but the government and the country should provide him with a fair trial,” lawmaker Waleed Al Tabtabae said.
“This is a national issue, but unfortunately Qallaf wanted to break national unity and started calling them (Guantanamo detainees) terrorists and members of Al Qaeda,” he added.
Democracy Not Respected or Understood
Adnan Al Mutawa, fellow Shiite lawmaker stood up to defend Qallaf.
“Parliament members are free to express their views in parliament, and they should be respected,” Al Mutawa said.
“Whoever violates others for their points of views is far away from freedom and democracy.”