JAFFA, Israel – A Kuwait City council decision to approve the construction of new churches has raised the ire of prominent Islamists, Al Rai newspaper reported.
Hay Elhay, a high-profile Kuwaiti cleric, said that the construction of churches on Kuwaiti soil is “absolutely forbidden,” and that “the ban on new churches in the Arabian Peninsula, including in Kuwait, is an Islamic consensus.”
Kuwait’s city planner, Ahmed al Manfouhi, said that the decision was purely technical, and that it was made in keeping with the policy of the Religious Affairs Ministry.
“The city council allocated several plots for the construction of new churches after it reviewed the applications that were submitted,” he said, adding that the construction of several churches is already underway.
The head of the Anglican Church in Kuwait, Father Emmanuel Gharib, said that he hoped that the construction will go ahead to address the growing demand.
“Our churches are overcrowded, and the situation has got significantly worse this past year,” he said. “We hope that City Hall accedes to our request because in some churches it has become life-threatening.”
Elhay told the newspaper that Islam has nothing against renovating existing churches, but “building new ones is a horrible sin.”