Kuwait Shiite MP resigns over sectarian insult

kuwait mapA lawmaker from Kuwait’s Shiite Muslim minority resigned Wednesday after a Sunni MP insulted him during a heated exchange in parliament.

“I was deeply hurt… by the contempt and insult against my religious sect by my colleague, Hamdan al-Azemi,” Faisal al-Duwaisan wrote in his resignation letter.

During a debate Tuesday, Azemi “told me: ‘you should rectify your sect,'” Duwaisan said.

That triggered a confrontation between Azemi and several Shiite MPs.

At the end of the session, Shiite MP Abdullah al-Tameemi and Azemi briefly quarrelled before they were restrained by other lawmakers.

Duwaisan said he will not withdraw his resignation unless Azemi publicly apologies or parliament takes disciplinary action against him.

There are seven Shiite MPs in the 50-member house.

Kuwait issued the national unity law in 2013 amid rising sectarian tension in the oil-rich emirate, where Shiites form around a third of the 1.3 million native population.

The legislation prescribes several years in jail for religious or ethnic hatred.

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