Kuwait cracks down on Yoga amid battle on women’s rights

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Kuwait City: The ancient Indian discipline of Yoga has created a storm in Kuwait. On the one hand, women have come out in one voice in support of this, while on the other hand, the clerics and fundamentalists are facing problems due to this.

The latest case pertains to a yoga camp where a yoga teacher advertised a wellness yoga retreat in the desert. This advertisement was given this month, after which the conservatives here opposed it. He called it an attack on Islam. Not only the clerics, but the leaders here have also stood up against this. These people have described the yoga postures of Padmasana and Swanasana in public places as dangerous for Islam. This yoga camp has been banned for the time being after the controversy escalated.

In this male dominated country now women are united against this decision. For the women here, yoga has become a symbol of the fight for women’s rights. However, the society here is clearly divided into two camps on this issue. Conservatives here say that such attempts by women tantamount to attacking the traditional values ​​of their country. The government is also the target of these people. They allege that the government is not handling the matter properly.

Kuwait has been one of the countries where women have been given very few rights. However, in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, which were previously known for their radical ideology, women are now given more rights. It’s like a new era for women in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand Kuwait still sticks to its old attitude. In January 2022, Saudi Arabia hosted the first Open Air Yoga Festival. There was a lot of discussion on social media in Kuwait at that time.

Alnaud Alsharekh, the founder of an organization called Ebolish 153, says that the women here are already full of appeals against the restrictions here. Now it is coming out in the open. Let us also tell you here that if a woman commits a crime, then there is a provision of severe punishment in the law, on the other hand, this punishment is not the same for crimes committed against women. Section 153 of the Kuwaiti Penal Code provides for a very mild punishment for killing a woman out of respect. There have been many demands to repeal this law. Following the protests in the aftermath of the Farah assassination in the year 2021, Parliament introduced a draft to repeal Article 153. It states that if a woman is murdered because of an illicit relationship with another man, the offender faces up to three years. in jail and 46 fines.

It was also called an unprecedented move in Kuwait’s parliament. But later the parliamentary committee referred the matter to the clerics who sealed the situation. After this, this section 153 was re-implemented last month itself. Sundus Hussain, a member of the Ablish 153 group, says that only those people are sitting in the Parliament who come from such a society. After the election of the year 2020, the number of such people has increased. The status of women’s rights in Kuwait is such that even the demand for women’s recruitment in the army has been rejected here.

First published:February 22, 2022, 11:52 am

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