A massive Sri Lankan celebration in Kuwait was interrupted after angry Kuwaitis claimed it violated Islamic rules. More than 5,000 Sri Lankans, including K.S.C. Dissanayake, Sri Lankan ambassador to Kuwait, had to leave the Jahra stadium after Kuwaiti Islamists invaded the field and pressed organisers to suspend the celebration and threatened to escalate the tense situation.
Negotiations between the event organisers, the police and the angry Kuwaitis failed to reach a compromise. The protesters said that the presence of men and women at the stadium and the playing of music on a Friday afternoon made the celebration “unacceptable” for not respecting Islamic values.
The ambassador, seeking to end the deadlock peacefully, urged his compatriots to cancel the celebrations two hours before schedule and to vacate the premises.
The police said that the Sri Lankans had all the necessary permits and did not break the law. Sri Lanka is organising on Monday a “Sri Lanka Culture Week” in Kuwait to help promote the country as a tourist and cultural destination. The event is hosted by Kuwait’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters and co-sponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lankan Airlines.
A28-member cultural troupe will perform 'Sri Lak Rangana', a fusion of historical and contemporary dance forms.
The week will also feature a handicraft exhibition of products, bronze items, masks, gems, jewellery and other ornaments while a food festival will introduce Sri Lankan cuisine to Kuwait residents.