Islamist organizations in Kuwait: their Origin and Present Situation

Elena Melkumian


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Islamist organizations began to appear in Kuwait before the country’s independence in 1961 but their emergence as an effective political force is associated with the activity of the Kuwaiti parliament - the National Assembly (Majlis al-umma). However the oldest Islamist organization "Muslim Brotherhood" which was directly related to a similar movement in Egypt originated as early as in 1954. The organization representing the interests of the Shiite community actively manifested in the political life of Kuwait. Islamist organizations have strengthened their position during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Their members are actively involved in the resistance movement and the organization of daily life Kuwaitis. Mosques have become the center of help to the residents of the country in that difficult period. Parliamentary elections in October 1992 confirmed the popularity of the Islamists in Kuwaiti society. Kuwait's ruling elite provided an opportunity of legal politicalactivities to Islamist groups as members of parliament or government ministers. Thus the chance of non-systemic opposition to exist have been reduced.


Kuwait; contemporary history; Islamism; Islamist organizations; political life


His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, 2008 — His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. The Journey of a Homeland. Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait. Kuwait, 2008.

Assiri Abdul-Reda, 1996 — Assiri Abdul-Reda. The Government and Politics of Kuwait. Kuwait, 1996.