Kurdistan Region shuts down ‘Hitler’ restaurant

The Kurdish authorities said that, “Nazism and racism would not be tolerated in the autonomous Kurdish region.”

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September 4, 2019 13:25
1 minute read.
DEMONSTRATORS GATHER outside the Kurdistan Parliament building in Erbil, Iraq, in October 2017

DEMONSTRATORS GATHER outside the Kurdistan Parliament building in Erbil, Iraq, in October 2017. (photo credit: AZAD LASHKARI / REUTERS)

Days after images of a restaurant named after Hitler began circulating online, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s security (Asayish) shut down the establishment and ordered the owner to change the offensive name.

According to Kurdistan 24, the Kurdish authorities said that, “Nazism and racism would not be tolerated in the autonomous Kurdish region.”

The owner of the restaurant has said he just wanted it to be famous and that it was akin to a marketing scheme. The owner said the name did not indicate his support for Hitler or Nazi ideology.

When he registered the name seven months ago, he said no one seemed to note the controversial name, according to an article in Rudaw. The local authority said that there wasn’t a law to restrict the names of businesses.

Now the Kurdistan region wants to ban names like this and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s department on genocides is seeking to prevent a recurrence.

Nazi and Hitler themes restaurants have popped up over the years in south and east Asia, countries that tend to not view Nazism the same way as the West due to proximity.

A Nazi-themed café was opened in Indonesia in 2014, for instance. A café in India was also named after Hitler in 2006. The owners tend to say they don’t promote Nazism, they just think the imagery and name will make their establishment interesting.

In Iraq, the context is a bit different because Saddam Hussein committed genocide against the Kurds and there was admiration for Nazi ideology among Arab nationalists in Iraq.


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