Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Row over ‘immoral’ women’s yoga retreat erupts in Kuwait

Row over ‘immoral’ women’s yoga retreat erupts in Kuwait

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A women’s yoga retreat in Kuwait was denounced as immoral. AFP

Row over ‘immoral’ women’s yoga retreat erupts in Kuwait

A Kuwaiti women’s yoga retreat that was denounced as “immoral” has been postponed after authorities said it needed a permit, its organiser said, prompting a backlash online and a complaint to parliament.

Yoga instructor Eman al-Husseinan said she had come under fierce media attack over the desert retreat, which was scheduled to take place on Friday.

“When I first organised the event, I did not know about the need for permits, and I was contacted by the interior ministry which clarified the importance of these permits,” she said in an online video posted late Thursday.

“We had already stressed the need for appropriate attire to take part in the sessions, which is modest clothing,” she added.

The one-day retreat was focused on practising yoga and highlighting its health benefits, as well creating a fun environment for women, Husseinan said.

“I was to subject a fierce media attack . . . they projected an image of the event in a manner that was insulting, portraying it to be immoral.

“Such projections are not a reflection of my morals or the morals of any Kuwaiti woman or Kuwaiti society.”

Lawmaker Hamdan al-Azmi had objected strongly to the event, urging its cancellation.

“This is a serious matter, and we urge the interior minister to move swiftly in stopping these practises that are alien to our conservative society,” he tweeted last week.

While some online agreed with the MP, many threw their support behind Husseinan.

“Kuwaiti women have become robbed of their will and rights . . . they are prevented from practising yoga . . . and from exercising their basic rights,” tweeted Kuwaiti writer Aljazi Alsenafi.

Lawyer Areej Hamadeh said that she had filed a complaint to parliament against Azmi.

“The MP has infringed on the constitution and personal freedoms and decided to impose his own guardianship on society under the pretext of its customs and traditions,” she said.

Kuwaiti women, who earned the right to vote in 2005, have long been pushing the boundaries of their society, considered one of the most open in the region.

Last year, they defied conservative norms and a culture of “shame” to speak out against harassment for the first time.

Azmi ruffled feathers last month when he questioned the defence minister about an October decision to allow women to join the army in combat roles.

The defence ministry later imposed new rules on women in the military, saying they have to wear a head covering, need permission from a male guardian to join and are not allowed to carry weapons.

Unlike other Gulf countries, Kuwait’s parliament enjoys legislative power and lawmakers have been known to challenge the government.


  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and