A 3D printing shop in Kuwait was forced to close its doors by the government this week after Sheikh Othman al-Khamis accused the business of selling “cult idols.”
“After a fierce campaign against so-called idols in Kuwait, a figurine shop has been strangely closed and all its models have disappeared,” reported the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper on Sunday, according to the BBC.
The printing store, reportedly a branch of technology company DOOB 3D, specialized in life-like figurines, which Othman claims are atrocities.
“What this shop does is an abomination and more dangerous than selling alcohol because it could lead to some people making idols of their children,” he said during a recent sermon.
After the store’s closure on September 16, the hashtag “idols in Kuwait” was used more than 21,000 times on Twitter to debate the issue, the BBC reports.
— سيدإسماعيل بهبهاني 🇵🇸 (@Sayed_Esma3eel) September 17, 2018
“Today these idols are mementos, but in years to come, people will seek blessings from them… and then they will be worshipped instead of God,” one person argued. Another user concurred, claiming the figurines were a “means of leading people to polytheism.”
The 3D printing store is not the first business Kuwait has censored because of its artistic works.
Virgin Megastore, an international music retailer, closed the doors of its Kuwait store due to the state’s censorship of artwork and albums.
Kuwait is currently embroiled in a censorship debate after demonstrations erupted on Saturday following authorities’ decision to ban an approximated 4,400 books from the state’s bookstores.
According to Middle East Eye, the hashtags “Banned In Kuwait,” and “Don’t Decide For Me,” trended on Twitter as inhabitants of the state took pictures of prohibited literary works they owned.
Islam, Kuwait’s main religion, heavily influences the societal and legal norms of the state.
According to the government of Kuwait, “Adherents of other religions are given the complete freedom to practice their own rituals provided that provided that no prejudice may occur against Islam,” however; The government also states that “Islam sets the required spiritual, social, economic and political standards for establishing a stable and balanced society.”