The West has no right to tell Hamas how to govern the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Zahar, a senior leader from the Islamist group told Reuters in an interview published Thursday.

Zahar went on to say that Islamic traditions should be respected, and charged that Europe "promotes promiscuity and political hypocrisy," according to the Reuters report. "We have the right to control our life according to our religion, not according to your religion. You have no religion. You are secular," he was quoted as saying.

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"You do not live like human beings... You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?" he went on. "We are the ones who respect women and honor women ... not you."

Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh renewed his call on Western governments to talk directly to Hamas.

He said that such a dialogue was necessary so the West could hear directly from the Hamas government about its positions and views.

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