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Wednesday, March 31, 2010    

Armed female cops disturbs Kuwaiti officials

ABU DHABI — Kuwait continues to object to women police officers bearing arms.   

Several parliamentarians have expressed opposition to the training of women police officers in firearms. They said the use of firearms for women ran contrary to Islamic norms.

"We have read media reports about Kuwaiti policewomen and their role as combat women," parliamentarian Mohammed Al Hayef said. "This new role clashes with the Interior Ministry's pledges to employ policewomen only in positions and places where they are really needed."

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Islamist members of parliament have been examining the increasing role of women in the police. On March 23, the second batch of women cadets, who held an armed exercise, graduated from the Saad Al Abdullah Academy for Security Science. Kuwaiti newspapers published photographs of the women wearing tight black trousers and shirts and wielding firearms.

"We want the minister to put an end to this ridiculous situation that he is watching daily," Al Hayef said. "We will not allow this to go on, and he must respect the pledges he made before parliament more than a year ago, particularly regarding Islamic dress for policewomen."

Al Hayef has been regarded as a Salafist, or holding a view of Islam similar to that of the regime in Saudi Arabia. Several Gulf Cooperation Council states employ women in their police and security forces, with most of them limited to administrative jobs and ordered to wear Islamic robes and headdress.

Officials acknowledged opposition from male officers in the police to their female counterparts. They said many men refuse to salute women superior officers.

In 2008, Kuwait allowed women police cadets to join what the Interior Ministry termed combat forces. Officials said the use of women was to counter the taboo on male officers searching women suspects.

"This is a qualitative move in supporting and rehabilitating the human resources of the Interior Ministry so that it could meet all security needs," Yusef Al Madhahka, director-general of the Saad Al Abdullah academy, said.

The opposition in parliament has also demanded answers to proposed weapons deals by Kuwait. Some parliamentarians have demanded the appearance of Defense Minister Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah on his intention to procure the Rafale fighter-jet from France.

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