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WATCH: Outrage after video shows Ramadan aid volunteer beating migrant worker in food queue Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

WATCH: Outrage after video shows Ramadan aid volunteer beating migrant worker in food queue

The video emerged on social media [Twitter]

Date of publication: 11 May, 2020

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A volunteer at a Ramadan food distribution event was filmed beating a recipient in Kuwait.
Kuwaitis were left outraged on social media after a video exposed a volunteer at a Ramadan food drive beating a migrant worker who was queuing for food.

The video shows dozens of recipients patiently waiting for food during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan when a migrant worker is seen chased by what appears to be a volunteer in uniform.

The volunteer forces the worker to the ground and proceeds to beat him on his face and head with an unidentified object

Words are then exchanged between the two as the victim holds up his hand in defence. He then stands to walk away, only to receive more lashes from the volunteer.

It is unclear what triggered the attack, however, Kuwaitis across social media called for an urgent and immediate investigation into the assault.

"He clearly misunderstood the meaning of voluntary work if he is beating him over a meal to break his fast," one social media user said.

"Those who cannot maintain self-control or work under pressure should just stay home," another user said on Twitter.

The outrage online prompted Kuwaiti authorities to "summon" the volunteer, seen abusing the migrant worker, according to a statement on Sunday.

"Relevant authorities will investigate and take necessary procedures," the statement added.

Kuwait, like other Gulf Arab states, rely on a vast population of foreign workers for jobs ranging from domestic help, construction work, to white-collar jobs.

Some 35 million labourers work in the six GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as Jordan and Lebanon, according to UN figures.

Foreigners far outnumber locals in the Gulf states, accounting for over 80 percent of the population in some countries.

Though the identity of the perpetrator and victim remain unknown, migrant workers across the country regularly face serious abuse, discrimination and racism from their Gulf counterparts.

Last month, during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a famous Kuwaiti actress sparked a furore by calling for expatriates to be expelled from the oil-rich nation so that locals can be sure to have hospital beds if they fall ill with Covid-19.

Hayat al-Fahad, 71, who is known for playing a range of roles in Arabic dramas, told a local television station that foreigners in the country should be kicked out during the health crisis.

Read also: 'Use prisoners' as medical lab rats, Saudi actress suggests amid coronavirus epidemic

"We are fed up. If we get sick, there are no hospitals (for us)," she said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. 

"Why, if their countries do not want them, should we deal with them? Aren't people supposed to leave during crises?

"We should send them out... put them in the desert. I am not against humanity, but we have reached a stage where we're fed up."

Many people online criticised the actress' comments, with one Twitter user saying it was "so unacceptable". 

"How many Kuwaitis are outside Kuwait at the moment? Should everyone also apply her logic when it comes to them?" another person posted.

Social media users also pointed out the irony of Fahad's own background, saying she is originally Iraqi.

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