Kuwait's emir warns against sectarian abuse on social media

Reuters , Monday 27 Jun 2016

Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (Photo: Reuters)

Kuwait's ruler warned on Monday against the abuse of social media to stoke sectarian tensions in the small Gulf Arab country, which has a mixed Sunni and Shia Muslim population.

"What we are living through and seeing is the misuse of social media tools ... to spread enmity and hatred," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said in a message published by state news agency KUNA to mark the last 10 days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

A suicide bombing by Sunni extremist group Islamic State at a Shia mosque last June killed 27 worshippers and jolted the usually quiet kingdom, caught between the sectarian-tinged rivalry of its massive neighbours Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"My brothers and my children, we remember with grief the terrorist bombing at the Imam al-Sadiq mosque ... the goal of its planning and execution in their satanic way was to ignite strife, division and prejudice among members of Kuwaiti society," the emir added, in rare remarks on sectarianism.

Historically, relations between Kuwait's Sunnis, who make up between 70 and 85 percent of the country's 1.4 million citizens, and its minority Shia community have been mostly amicable.

Shia hold important positions in business, government and parliament.

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