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It Turns Out That Some Colors Are ‘Haram’ in Kuwait

It Turns Out That Some Colors Are ‘Haram’ in Kuwait

Al Qabas, Kuwait, December 22

I recently heard a story of a children’s toy store in Kuwait that was forced to take some of its products off the shelf because the colors of those products resembled the rainbow flag, associated with the gay community. When the store owner came to release the products from Customs, the officer on duty refused to cooperate, claiming that these products were “illegal in the country.” The store owner didn’t back down and explained that they are manufactured by an international brand and sold all over the world. The officer refused and claimed that they are “associated with the worshippers of Satan.” “Was this ban issued by the Commerce Ministry,” the owner asked, to which the officer responded, “No.” What this anecdotal experience teaches us is that some decisions in our country are taken by people in a position of power based on their own personal convictions, worldviews, and beliefs – without any legal backing. Unfortunately, after such decisions are made on an arbitrary and ad-hoc basis, they often become a norm that is blindly applied to everyone. A question to the Commerce Ministry: If one of the employees of the ministry wakes up one morning and decides that the beautiful blue color, which is one of our symbolic national colors, is actually a color associated with donkey lovers – will our national football team be prohibited from wearing its blue uniform? Will Kuwait Airways, our national carrier that adorns its fleet with an iconic blue livery, be prevented from flying in our airspace? Alternatively, if one of the geniuses in the relevant ministry discovers that green or yellow has been used as a color associated with atheists in another country, will the Al-Qadsiah Football Club burn their shirts and dispose of them? The truth is that we must not allow employees, bureaucrats, or anyone in a position of power to make decisions for all of us according to their own whims and desires. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of issuing public decisions based on the conviction and temperament of a single official, and imposing it upon the people, has become all too common. Ultimately, it is up to us to reject these decisions and defy them, unless they’ve been carefully evaluated by the appropriate ministries and enshrined in law that is binding on all citizens. –Iqbal Al-Ahmad (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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