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Activists, MPs call to halt demolition of historical mosque

Shamlan Al-Roumi Mosque, built in 1893
Shamlan Al-Roumi Mosque, built in 1893

KUWAIT: A number of MPs and activists yesterday called on authorities to stop orders to demolish a 123-year old historical mosque in Kuwait City to make way for a key road project. The ministry of awqaf and islamic affairs said the decision to demolish the Shamlan Al-Roumi Mosque, built in 1893, was taken by the Cabinet and it had objected to the decision. The demolition is required because the mosque is in the way of the final phase of the First Ring Road project.

The ministry of public works, which is supervising the project, said it cannot change the course of the project, where a tunnel and a bridge are planned at a major intersection in the capital. Activists launched a hashtag campaign on Twitter and other social media calling on authorities to drop plans to demolish the mosque because of its historical and religious value and called for finding alternatives.

MP Ahmad Al-Qhudhaibi condemned the decision to demolish the mosque, saying it amounts to a humiliation of Kuwait’s history and held Awqaf Minister Yaqoub Al-Sane responsible for the decision. The lawmaker warned that MPs will not allow the minister to demolish the historical mosque and if it happens, he will be grilled in the next term, which starts in October.
MP Rakan Al-Nisf urged the minister to halt the demolition immediately, and warned that he will be held politically responsible for the action. MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji called on the prime minister to intervene and stop the decision to raze the mosque because of its historical value as one of Kuwait’s important sites.

Meanwhile, the court of cassation yesterday set July 25 as the date to issue its verdict against Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah on charges of insulting the judiciary. The criminal court had sentenced Sheikh Ahmad, a top international sports figure and a former minister, to six months in jail. The appeals court however acquitted him of the accusations. Rulings by the cassation court are final and cannot be appealed.
By B Izzak

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