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JSPES, Vol. 45, No. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2020)
pp. 178-200

Islamic Values vs. Liberal Values in Kuwaiti Culture: A Clash of Cultural Ideologies, Sex, and Gender

Ahmed Baroody
Doshisha University Kyoto, Japan

The changing social history of Kuwait can be broken into three stages: the period before the discovery of oil in Kuwait, the period immediately after the discovery of oil, and the present-day. This essay will explore the influence of Western liberal ideology on Kuwait’s traditional Islamic culture especially with regard to gender and Kuwaiti youths. Gender and acceptance of social liberalism and loosening sexual mores. Though Kuwaiti gender norms have long been unchanged due to strong Islamic traditions and teaching, the influence of ultra-orthodox Islam ideology originating from outside Kuwait has caused Kuwaiti culture Muslims to become more extreme in their effort to reject western liberalism, viewing it as an “alien cultural.” A divide appears to be growing between Kuwaiti citizens who were American- educated and hold liberal ideologies, and Kuwaitis who hold ultra-orthodox Islamic ideologies on the other, as to who will hold sway over Kuwaiti culture and society in the foreseeable future.