Kuwait has backtracked on plans to build new churches, reports Christian Today.

News that a number of sites had been allocated for church building was reported to the local press by Ahmad al-Manfoohi, general director of the Municipality.

But after some Kuwaiti members of parliament announced they will reject the plan because it “contradicts Islamic sharia laws”, the head of the council’s technical committee, Fahd Al-Sane, said the committee had not yet received any such request.

Rev. Emmanuel Gharib of the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait said more churches were needed in Kuwait because of the growing number of Christians in the country, noting that “the current congestion in the church puts lives at risk”. Renovation of current church buildings is favoured by Kuwait authorities.

According to Pew Research, Kuwait’s Christians number about 390,000 – about 14 per cent of the population – though most are thought to be expatriates.