Kuwait goes fundie

The Arab Times reports that Kuwait, perhaps America's most unflinching ally in the Middle East since it was liberated from Iraqi troops in 1991, is becoming increasingly fundamentalist:

In the past, men and women mingled and dated in Kuwait. The country had mixed beach clubs for nationals. No longer. Most now have separate swimming days for women and men. Like other Gulf states, Kuwait is witnessing a rising tide of fanatical Islam. More and more women wear the veil and more men grow beards to display their religious fervour. Islamist extremism indoctrinated by the Sunni Salafi and Wahhabi movements is spreading from Saudi Arabia to neighbouring Kuwait, influencing its youth and affecting all aspects of life. Many Kuwaitis, like other Arabs, denounce the United States and its allies for backing “corrupt” rulers and what they see as Washington’s war against Islam and plans to control their region’s oil wealth.


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.