Kuwait's parliament has endorsed a draft law stipulating harsher penalties for insulting God or Prophet Mohammad, his family or companions.
The draft was approved by 46 MPs, including members from the government, after an intense debate on Thursday ,and opposed by four while two abstained.
The lawmakers had to overcome sharp divergences bordering on sectarianism as well as calls by some MPs to impose the death penalty on offenders.
The issue of tougher sentences gained further significance after bloggers in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait posted remarks deemed blasphemous on their social network accounts and sparked furore in their home countries.
Kuwait's parliament, voted in on February 2, is dominated by conservatives who have been pushing for an amendment of the laws to reflect their ideology.