Muna Al-Fuzai

A young bedoon who committed suicide in Kuwait last week sparked a media uproar and controversy on social media. It is regrettable that this issue negatively affected Kuwait and key officials who are doing their job. Some tweets, calls and visits seemed like foreign intervention in an internal matter. For all these reasons, I feel a few things must be clarified.

The bedoon man committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope in his room. The suicide led some to launch negative comments and even accusations against Kuwait. I would like to clarify that suicide is forbidden by Islam and the law because it is a crime against oneself. Therefore, suicide should not be justified, because there might be other reasons that we don’t know about that took this man down this road.

The interior ministry released a statement saying that investigations conducted by specialized security authorities showed that the deceased was a drug addict. The statement added that 12 cases of misdemeanors, drug-related crimes and forced robbery were recorded against him, pointing out that he was arrested on May 11, 2019 by the general security on charges of possessing narcotic substances and was transferred to state custody.

This incident also provoked several reactions, including criticism by Kuwaiti media figure Fajer Al-Saeed. She commented on Twitter over a video showing a US official offering condolences to the family of the young man. “Why is the political advisor of the embassy at the funeral of the bedoon? Is it the duty of the US Embassy counselor to attend the man’s funeral and investigate the causes of his suicide?

She was not the only one who made such comments. MP Ahmad Al-Fadhl also said there are attempts to exploit the suicide of the bedoon to blackmail Kuwait or harm it, adding interference by any state in an internal matter of Kuwait is rejected. Fadhl praised the ministry of interior’s quick handling of the case by issuing the statement on the suicide.

I think it is unfortunate that the bedoons’ issue does not seem to have a radical solution so far, leading it to become a complex and offensive issue for Kuwait. But we must not deny efforts by the central agency for illegal residents. Saleh Al-Fadhalah, head of the agency, is doing his job as per the law and regulations. In April, the agency said nearly 90 percent of all illegal residents (bedoons) received ID cards in 2018. So, there are still 10 percent who are not willing to correct their status by denying or hiding their original nationality, in the hope of obtaining Kuwaiti nationality. I do not know of any international system in the world that would grant someone an identification card or citizenship without knowledge of the person’s origins or their true nationality.

There are a few matters that are sadly never mentioned in the news, like what was said by the ministry of justice, which announced the issuance of 1,742 legal documents for marriage, divorce and annulment contracts for illegal residents during 2018 in cooperation with the central agency. All services provided to illegal residents are based on continuous cooperation with the central agency to deal with the situation of bedoons.

I believe this suicide led to a serious and negative media orientation towards Kuwait, with calls to demonstrate against the state and threaten public safety, which should not be tolerated or accepted because this poses a security threat to the country and people. The ministry of interior is required to confront any attempts to threaten people and their lives and safety, and such an incident should not be a pretext for breaking the law.

By Muna Al-Fuzai