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Kuwait MP claims there are 300,000 'rats' with fake citizenship

Kuwait's only female MP Safaa al-Hashem is known for her anti-migrant stance [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 January, 2018

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A Kuwaiti lawmaker known for her anti-migrant rhetoric, claims 300,000 people, whom she refers to as "rats", have forged their citizenship.
At least 300,000 people in Kuwait have fake citizenships, a Kuwaiti MP has claimed.

Safaa al-Hashem, who is known for her inflammatory rhetoric against expats, estimated 300,000 people out of 1.3 million "real" Kuwaitis have forged documents.

"If the Ministry of Interior continues to trap the rats who obtained the citizenship illegally, they will find that 300,000 of Kuwaiti citizens obtained their citizenship illegally. There are one million real Kuwaitis," she said, according to Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai on Wednesday.

Hashem's words come after reports of expats, mainly Syrians, who had obtained the Kuwaiti citizenship through fraudulent means.

Kuwait's Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced a Saudi national to seven years in prison for forging documents to obtain the Kuwaiti citizenship and embezzling 24,000 Kuwaiti Dinars ($79,545) from the state.

Hashem, the only female MP in Kuwait's parliament who is known for her populist rhetoric, has previously called for hard-line policies to reduce immigration, such as forcing non-Kuwaitis to pay a tax for walking on streets and banning them from having access to free medicine in hospital, regardless of how poor they may be.

Hashem has insisted she is not racist, despite her alarming comments, and says she wants to balance the Kuwaiti-to-expat ratio.

Expats currently make up 70 percent of Kuwait's 4.3 million population.

Lawmakers have proposed other discriminatory measures to address Kuwait's demographic inbalance, including deporting foreign teachers, banning expatriates from driving and a "15 year cap" on foreign workers in the country.

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