Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By At­tor­ney Fa­jer Ahmed

Ihope ev­ery­one had a Merry Christ­mas yes­ter­day and I hope your New Year is filled with good health, love, com­pas­sion, for­give­ness and hap­pi­ness - for you and your fam­ily. There has been a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity in the news re­cently. Two head­lines par­tic­u­larly caught my at­ten­tion - “One mil­lion ex­pats are go­ing to be de­ported” and “Cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas is not/or is haram”. Are these real re­ports? Or are they ex­ag­ger­ated just be­cause con­tro­versy sells?!

As a lawyer, it is very dif­fi­cult for me to grasp such head­lines, and this is be­cause I was taught in law school (as one would ex­pect) ar­ti­cles of the Kuwaiti con­sti­tu­tion, as fol­lows:

Ar­ti­cle 29: “All peo­ple are equal in hu­man dig­nity, and in public rights and du­ties be­fore the law, with­out dis­tinc­tion as to race, ori­gin, lan­guage or re­li­gion.”

Ar­ti­cle 35: “[The con­sti­tu­tion] pro­tects the free­dom of prac­tic­ing re­li­gion in ac­cor­dance with es­tab­lished cus­toms, pro­vided that it does not con­flict with public pol­icy or morals.”

It is as if the news is tai­lored to make ex­pats feel un­com­fort­able in Kuwait. I have said this and I will con­tinue to say this - a lot of peo­ple have left their homes, their tra­di­tions and their fam­i­lies so they can be with us and work for com­pa­nies in Kuwait, and are there­fore a part of our so­ci­ety and our econ­omy. So we need to make them com­fort­able. Laws need to change in or­der for us to ac­cept more tra­di­tions and re­li­gions. We are blessed to have such a di­verse com­mu­nity, so Happy Hol­i­days to ev­ery­one. To­day I will be an­swer­ing ques­tions that have been of con­cern to ex­pats in Kuwait.

Not il­le­gal

Ques­tion: Is cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas il­le­gal in Kuwait? Fa­jer: No. There is no law in Kuwait that makes cel­e­brat­ing other re­li­gious fes­ti­vals il­le­gal. There may be by­laws that re­strict cel­e­bra­tions in cer­tain ways, es­pe­cially in com­mer­cial ar­eas, but there is noth­ing that makes it il­le­gal.

Ques­tion: Is it true that they want to de­port one mil­lion ex­pats from Kuwait and make the num­ber of ex­pats in Kuwait equal to the num­ber of Kuwaitis. Could I sud­denly lose my job?

Fa­jer: Like I men­tioned above, there has been a lot of news go­ing around on the de­por­ta­tion of ex­pats in Kuwait, and I just want to make it clear that ex­pats can­not be de­ported just be­cause they are ex­pats. The govern­ment of­fi­cials were speak­ing about those who are in vi­o­la­tion of im­mi­gra­tion law or those in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Pun­ish­ment

De­por­ta­tion as a pun­ish­ment has been more and more com­mon in the past year, and this is why it has been fo­cused on by the me­dia, but if you are a law-abid­ing res­i­dent, you have noth­ing to fear. I know some com­pa­nies out there are not fol­low­ing the law and are not pro­vid­ing their em­ploy­ees with the proper pa­per­work/visas, and this may have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the em­ploy­ees. Please be care­ful and al­ways dou­ble check that you have the proper doc­u­ments.

And since it is the sea­son of giv­ing, re­mem­ber to for­give. Go­ing to court is not al­ways the ideal so­lu­tion. Let go of some things when you can, and be nice to those around you, re­gard­less of their re­li­gion or back­ground. Happy hol­i­days!

For any le­gal ques­tions, queries or if you need le­gal as­sis­tance, email ask@fa­jerthelawyer.com

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