Hamas enforces ban on women smoking water pipes

Hamas police ordered a Gaza hotel restaurant closed on Wednesday for allowing a woman to smoke a water pipe on its premises, one of its owners said.

It was believed to be the first time that Hamas Islamists who run the Gaza Strip have enforced their ban, announced in July, on women smoking the traditional tobacco-infused pipes in public.

“They acted as if they caught her red-handed committing a crime,” the hotel’s co-owner said of the encounter between Hamas police and the woman.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said the police “accused us of violating tradition and Islamic values” and ordered the hotel closed for three days. The order was later amended to cover only its restaurant.

A Hamas police spokesman denied the closure stemmed from a violation of the water pipe ban but said the hotels’ owners “committed some violations”, which he did not detail.

The water pipe ban has drawn criticism from human rights groups, which have accused Hamas of limiting public freedoms. Hamas leaders have denied any intention to impose Islamic law in the territory. (Writing by Nidal al-Mughrabi)

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE68E1NN.htm

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Closing of tourist places in Gaza for non-compliance with Islamic customs
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