KUWAIT, Jan 9: A major scuffle erupted on Sunday evening in a very popular shoe shop in Farwaniya. A Syrian worker from an adjoining store who witnessed the entire fracas told the Kuwait Times, "The fight occurred last night when a Kuwaiti customer who came in to buy a pair of shoes, tried a pair on and then requested a bigger size. He tried them on, too, then taking a closer look at the innersoles of the shoes, yelled out that the name of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was embossed on the innersoles." He added that the customer also asked him to take a look, where he could faintly see the word Mohammed (PBUH) illegibly scrawled in reverse.
When the customer asked the salesman at the shop to interpret the printed letters, he told him that it was a Chinese word, which only indicated the shoe brand, consistently denying the fact that the word meant anything else, least any name demeaning anyone. The angry customer then started drawing in curious onlookers to hear what he was talking about, simultaneously displaying the shoes for all to see. Within seconds a multitude gathered in and out of the store, where all unanimously agreed that the letters clearly indicated likewise.
A scuffle then broke out between some Egyptian passers-by and workers at the store, where the Egyptians vented their anger and fury for blaspheming the prophet and shattered the display window to smithereens. Police arrived soon, dispersed the mob, confiscated all the goods in question and downed the store's shutters. However, yesterday morning, the store reopened for business as usual. The Syrian worker was quoted later as saying, "Everybody knows for a fact that the owner of this store is not a Muslim."
A worker at a restaurant just across the street said, "A huge fight took place in front of this famous store, but when I went running to know the reason behind this fight, they told me that one customer stole some items from the store." While another worker when questioned said, "I heard that the real reason for the fight was that one of the customers was bullying a lady in the shop and then she called her brother and this was how the fight started." An optician, whose optical store is located within close range, however, refused to comment although he witnessed the entire episode.
This reporter on entering the store noticed all the workers were dazed, depressed and shocked, with the shop almost empty. When asked to comment on the incident, one of the workers said, "It just started as a normal argument between two groups which became bigger," while his colleague continued saying, "the fight started because one of the customers stole some money during busy hours." Another worker in his late 30s said, "Yes the shoes were in our store but our competitors sneaked them into the shop to create problems."
Other workers in the adjoining area didn't seem to care less on the issue, while others seemed stiff-scared to voice their opinions. The rest appeared either shocked or dazed by the entire episode, which reached a point where Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) were subjected to blasphemy. The incident cast a pall of gloom over the adjoining shops and their business was badly affected.