Kuwait’s parliament provisionally passed amendments to the Gulf state’s penal code stipulating the death penalty for those who curse the Islamic god, Islam’s Prophet or his wives, the AFP reported.
Forty-six members of parliament voted for the key amendments that will come into effect after another round of voting and government approval. The second and final vote is scheduled to take place in two weeks.
Four Shi'ite MPs voted against the law, a pro-Shiite Sunni lawmaker abstained, while two MPs refused to vote, the news agency said.
Shi'ite MPs have demanded that the new amendments also enforce the death penalty for anyone who curses their sect’s 12 revered Imams, but the Sunni-dominated parliament reportedly rejected their requests.
The move to bolster penalties for religious crimes came after authorities arrested a Shi'ite tweeter, last month, for allegedly cursing the Prophet Mohammed.
Sectarian tensions have flared in Kuwait between the Sunni majority and Shi'ites, who form about a third of the native population of 1.17 million, reflecting rising regional tensions between the two Islamic sects, reported AFP.