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01/31/2019 Kuwait (International Christian Concern) –  Kuwaiti Islamic cleric Othman al-Khamis has issued yet another statement in his weekly fatwa session encouraging his followers to kill apostates. He argues that apostates are committing a crime by not following Islam and that they are therefore being rightly punished when killed. Sheikh al-Khamis has a long history of hate speech towards Christians.

Christians are viewed by hardline Islamists as extremists, and often are the target of hate speech and violence. In Kuwait, the law technically prohibits defamation of the Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) and the publication of material deemed offensive to religious groups. However, Islam is officially the state religion and there are few Christians in Kuwait. According to the State Department Religious Freedom Report for 2017, there are only about 267 Christian citizens in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti Christians report self-censorship in order to avoid social conflict and government interference. The government has taken steps to block foreign clerics who promote radicalization from entering the country, and those who publish content deemed offensive to religious groups can face a hefty fine and up to seven years imprisonment. Christians report that they are fearful of resolving issues and conflicts through the court system because decisions are made according to sharia.

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