Hamas shuts restaurant that lets woman smoke pipe

Hotel restaurant ordered closed for 3 days, owner says due to violation of ban on women smoking water pipes; Hamas police deny violation is reason for closure.

September 15, 2010 21:11
Palestinian women in Gaza

Palestinian women gaza 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Hamas leadership has shut down a hotel restaurant in Gaza for three days after a woman was caught smoking a water pipe on its premises, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

In July, Hamas announced a ban prohibiting females from smoking the tobacco water pipes - also known as "nargile" or "shisha" - while in public.

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"The police have decided to ban women from smoking water pipes in open, public places because it is against our customs, traditions and social norms," Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein told AFP at the time the ban was announced.

Wednesday's restaurant closure is the first known enforcement of the ban.

Although the owner of the establishment claimed the closure was a direct result of the ban violation, a Hamas police spokesman denied that was the reason for the temporary closure.

The spokesman reportedly said that the owners had "committed some violations," but did not elaborate on them.

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