Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Female Ministers Must Wear Hijab?

This is from yesterday’s Arab Times. I have two questions – first, I have no objection to hijab, and I thought it was every individual’s choice to wear or not to wear. Is it the law to wear hijab?

second, I’ve been told that in Kuwait, women did not wear hijab – it is neither cultural nor traditional. Where is this insistence on hijab coming from?

Don’t allow female ministers in Parliament without ‘hijab’: MP

KUWAIT CITY : The government and Parliament should strictly adhere to the Islamic teachings in granting women their political rights, says MP Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi to Al-Watan Arabic daily.

Urging both authorities to enforce the Elections Law based on the Islamic teachings, Al-Mutairi said the government should ensure the two female ministers – Education and Higher Education Nuriya Al-Subaih and State Minister for Housing Affairs and Administrative Development Mudhi Al-Humoud – will abide by the Islamic teachings in carrying out their duties in their respective ministries.

According to Article 17/2005 of the law and as stated in the Holy Quran, Al-Mutairi stressed women should always wear ‘hijab’ (veil). He also asked the government to be objective in implementing the law, which should be enforced among its members first to serve as an example to the people. Al-Mutairi added the executive and legislative authorities should not allow Al-Subaih and Al-Humoud to enter the Parliament without ‘hijab.’

June 2, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Spiritual, Women's Issues |


  1. This is all ridiculous! It is in fact a matter of personal choice here in Kuwait and there is no law about it!

    Comment by Ansam | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. did my comment vanish again? LOL

    Comment by Ansam | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ansam, I am guessing your comments show up when you write them at home (like your good morning! posts) and go to spam when you write them at work? Does that seem possible?

    Re hijab – I didn’t even think it was Kuwaiti tradition. I’ve been told that women would adopt hijab in their later years, or when widowed, in Kuwait, until fairly recently.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  4. hahaha good luck enforcing the hijab on Nooreya *salutes*

    Comment by Enigma | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  5. Just came back from Kuwait and can testify that there are kuwaiti women that wear hijab. It is choice, but strongly embedded in custom.

    Comment by HM | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  6. aaaaah arabs… what a wonderful, worthy race.

    Comment by Mrm | June 2, 2008 | Reply

  7. I revolted when I heard this. I really wanted to kick those MPs in the nuts.

    Comment by Angelo | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  8. He wasn’t quite so keen on the enforcement of stopping illegal primaries was he? Oh…and that was the law!

    Comment by guessed | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  9. Enigma, I salute YOU!

    HM – yes, hijab is common in Kuwait now, but it wasn’t twenty-thirty years ago. I’m told it is the growing influence from Saudi Arabia and Iran that has created the difference.

    Mrm – I am so happy to see you again. Don’t go disappearing; I miss you.

    Angelo – It makes me very nervous for the future of women’s rights in Kuwait.

    Guessed – LLLOOOOLLLLLL! I hadn’t thought of that, but then I only really get the surface of the news because I don’t have the vocabulary and grammar to read the Arabic press.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 3, 2008 | Reply

  10. […] Intlxpatr, an expatriate living in Kuwait, reports that an Islamic MP has requested Parliament to ban female ministers not wearing the Islamic headscarf, the Hijab, from entering Parliament. Posted by Amira Al Hussaini Share This […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Kuwait: Female Ministers Must Cover Up! | June 11, 2008 | Reply

  11. […] Intlxpatr, وهو مغترب يعيش في الكويت يكتب أن أحد النواب الإسلاميين قد طالب البرلمان بمنع الوزيرات غير المحجبات من دخول البرلمان. […]

    Pingback by Global Voices بالعربية » الكويت: على الوزيرات أن يتحجبن! | June 22, 2008 | Reply

  12. Salaam Aleykum

    Just to let you know, Hijab Swimwear is available from

    International Shipping available


    Comment by Burqini | June 30, 2008 | Reply

  13. No, it is not the law. This is a cultural trend that has shifted dramatically in the last decade, and is influenced by Saudi Arabian culture, not Kuwaiti culture…while tribal bounds are fluid, this view of hijab not being optional is completely a foreign practice in recent years…

    Comment by soupprincess | July 23, 2008 | Reply

  14. Is that like an “alien” practice that needs to be investigated, soupprincess? (just kidding. I take your point.)

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 23, 2008 | Reply

  15. I am a female surgeon from the US who is giving several lectures in Kuwait city next week. I planned on dressing in longer skirts and suit jacket. Do I need to wear anything special so as not to upset anyone? Thank you for your help.

    Comment by mary | October 23, 2008 | Reply

  16. Dear female surgeon :

    come as you are , wear your best , professional women are great in style , you will be surprised at the high fashion style in kuwait .All this talk is in the media only ,so dont worry about it . If you offend anyone they can go and jump in the lake .

    Bring your make up kit and your high heels , your earnings and jewelry and wear your skirts ,the weather is getting milder ,

    We have great malls here , a bit expensive but there are sales and NO TAX on anything , lots of Americans here , We have McDonald’s and Ruby Tuesday and Applebees .Relax and enjoy your stay .

    i wish you a successful trip and i hope our doctors learn a thing or two from you .

    Have Fun

    Comment by daggero | October 23, 2008 | Reply

  17. Welcome, Welcome Mary.

    The guidelines I was given, lo these many years ago when I came, was to be covered from elbow to mid-calf in looser fitting clothes. It is still pretty hot around here, and sometimes there is a lot of air conditioning, and sometimes not quite enough, so clothes that breathe, clothes in layers – like many women carry a jacket or shawl to put on if it is too cool, but if you might be under spotlights, then you will need flexibility.

    If you will be whisked from posh hotel to car to lecture hall, your fragile gorgeous shoes will be fine, but if you like walking, the streets and sidewalks are often broken and uneven and have objects implanted in them at tripping level and you will want good walking shoes.

    Daggero is right – many of the people here dress with great style. You will find stores in some of the malls here that will take your breath away.

    (I think Daggero meant bring your earrings, but maybe he DID mean bring your earnings, LLOOLLLL!)

    If you want a bit of local color, please be sure to have someone walk you through the Mubarakiyya market, and, if you can, have a meal down there in the courtyard near the mosque, with all the shoppers. It is a perfect time of year for it, outdoors, at night. It is also an unforgettable ghost of old Kuwait.

    Again, welcome. I am betting you will be well taken care of and that you will have a wonderful and unforgettable time here in Kuwait, God willing. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 24, 2008 | Reply


    Comment by MUNZEEMUL | February 4, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: