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Tuesday, May 4, 1999 Published at 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK

World: Middle East

Koran misprint sparks Kuwaiti crisis

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, has dissolved the country's elected parliament and called for elections on 3 July.

The shock move follows a bitter feud between MPs and the cabinet about misprints in a free state-published edition of the Koran.

[ image: Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah has called elections for 3 July]
Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah has called elections for 3 July
A missing verse in numerous copies of the Muslim holy book has plunged the state into political crisis.

The man held responsible for the mistake, Minister for Islamic Affairs Ahmad al-Kulaib, was accused by lawmakers of trying to disfigure the faith of Muslims by allowing the copies to circulate.

MPs said the mistakes gave the enemies of Kuwait and Islam a weapon against them.

No confidence

Ahmad al-Kulaib would have had to face a no confidence vote next week, and was widely expected to lose.

Although MPs are said to be shocked and furious at the dissolution of parliament, the editor of Kuwait's al-Qabas newspaper, Mohammed al-Saqar, told the BBC the move was within the constitution.

Kuwait's parliament has been dissolved before, most recently in 1986. It was reconvened after the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

Mr al-Saqar said parliament would probably emerge stronger after July's elections to the 50-seat parliament - the only elected assembly in the Gulf.

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13 Jun 98 | Middle East
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