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Kuwait Marathon Returns Despite Pressure

Kuwait Marathon Returns Despite Pressure

Thursday, 1 December, 2022 - 10:00
Photo of a Marathon event held in Kuwait City. (KUNA)

Kuwaiti MP Alia Al-Khaled announced on Wednesday that the Marathon organized by the National Bank of Kuwait would be launched on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Gulf Street.

The announcement came in the wake of a wave of anger on social media, following a former decision to cancel the event that brings together men and women from all over the country.

Khaled thanked the Minister of Interior and the Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic, for their quick response to resolve the issue and their coordination with the concerned authorities.

The marathon organizers had informed the media in Kuwait that a directive had been issued banning the musical bands accompanying the marathon event, before news circulated of a decision to cancel the marathon due to the joint participation of men and women.

A recently establishment parliamentary committee, called the “Negative Phenomena Committee” and concerned with “monitoring public behavior” and preserving what it considers the values of society, had issued an implicit warning through a parliamentary question submitted by one of its members.

Salafist MP Hamad Al-Obeid addressed the Minister of Interior, asking: “Are marathons being held in Kuwait with the approval of the relevant government agencies?”

He also questioned the “the extent of commitment to the Sharia controls for mixing.”

In response, Kuwaiti activists launched a campaign on social media against the committee, accusing it of imposing “moral guardianship on society, practicing restrictions on freedoms in Kuwait, and violating the constitution.”

Al-Khaled urged the Ministry of Interior not to succumb to extremist currents.

“Sports events and gatherings have health and societal goals and aim to consolidate relations between members of society, in addition to their recreational goals that reduce the psychological pressures experienced by citizens and residents,” she said in earlier remarks.

The deputy added: “The Ministry of the Interior must implement the law and not exercise authoritarianism for fear of questioning or threat. If we want reform and development, then this approach does not serve the hoped-for vision announced by the Emir and the Crown Prince in their speech.”

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