donderdag 22 juli 2010

Hamas verbiedt waterpijpen in Gazastrook

Op zo ongeveer ieder multicultureel festival heb je een Arabische tent waar je een waterpijp kunt roken en Arabische thee drinken, maar van Hamas mag dat eerste niet meer in Gaza. Zelfs mannen wordt dit oude gebruik verboden.

July 17, 2010
Hamas Moves to Enforce Water Pipe Ban in Gaza

GAZA — In its latest attempt to try to impose a conservative Islamic way of life on Gaza, Hamas started this weekend to enforce a ban on smoking water pipes in public.

A spokesman for the Hamas police, Ayman al-Batniji, said that the ban applied only to women and that it was in line with "the Palestinian people's customs and traditions."

But many cafe owners said they had been ordered to ban water pipes for both men and women.

Smoking large water pipes called shisha, usually with bowls of flavored tobacco, is a longstanding pastime here.

Plainclothes members of the Hamas security services have been inspecting cafes along the Gaza City beachfront, including men-only establishments like Al Shera Café, where men go to drink coffee, tea and soft drinks while playing cards.

Ahmed Yazji, manager of the Orient House Hotel in Gaza city, said the conflicting orders were confusing. Plainclothes policemen "come to check and still order us not to serve shisha to anybody," he said, "though we hear the order has been amended to include only women."

Cafe owners said the ban had been issued orally to dozens of cafes along the seafront on Thursday night.

Hamas has a vague and bewildering record when it comes to such campaigns.

Last year, for example, the authorities issued similar verbal orders against women smoking water pipes, but the ban was not enforced.

There have also been orders for female lawyers to wear Islamic head scarves in courthouses, men not to work in hairdressing salons catering to women, and girls to wear long Islamic robes at schools, but these orders either have not been enforced or were quickly reversed.

Some have ascribed the confusion to disagreements within Hamas, as guardians of religious morality, some self-appointed, others within the government, have sought to impose their own views.

On Friday night, a bearded man in plainclothes with a pistol entered the Al Shera Café, and nodded his head in satisfaction that no shisha was being smoked.

The receptionist asked him how long the ban would stay in place.

"Until a different, new order is issued," the man with the pistol replied.

Even at fancy restaurants like Roots and the Deira hotel, which cater to foreigners, shisha stalls and corners were shut down. Fewer than a quarter of the tables were occupied in both places on Friday night, an unusually low turnout for a summer weekend evening.

Alaa al-Kurd, who runs a makeshift cafeteria for three months every summer, said shisha smokers made up 70 percent of his customers.

He used to make 200 to 250 bowls of tobacco a day and sell them for seven shekels, or just under $2 each.

Now most of the people who come to the men's section leave when they hear they cannot get a water pipe, he said.

He said he had paid thousands of dollars to rent the land for the cafeteria from the municipality, which is run by Hamas.

He said the municipality should have clarified that shisha would be banned before he had paid the rent.

Khalil Abu Shamala, director of Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, said that banning smoking for health reasons would be welcome, but the recent decision "seems to be serving Hamas's own program."

He noted that people sitting at the cafes on Friday night were still smoking cigarettes.

1 opmerking:

  1. Wij als vrouwen in Nederland mogen we dat gelukkig wel, hopen dat de vrouwenrecht in alle landen verbeterd wordt.