Hamas bans Arab novels in Gaza bookstores

09:03, January 26, 2011      

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Hamas banned the sale of two Arab novels and confiscated the copies from a bookstore in Gaza city, sources said Tuesday.

The sources, who preferred their names not to be disclosed, said plainclothes policemen confiscated all the copies of the two novels from a bookstore near Al-Azhar University and showed the owner an order from the interior ministry stipulating the ban on the books.

The order said the two novels, Chicago by Egyptian writer Alaa Al-Asswani and Feast for the Seaweeds by Syrian author Haidar Haidar, "don't agree with the teachings of Islamic Sharia."

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) slammed the move, saying the confiscation of the books violates freedom of expression and publishing.

The PCHR added that banning the books under the pretext of violating Islamic instructions "will increase later and take place for different political backgrounds."

Hamas, the Islamic movement, took over Gaza by force in 2007 after it routed the forces loyal to Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and ousted his secular Fatah party.

Hamas has taken numerous steps to impose an Islamic lifestyle on the society, including banning women from smoking water-pipe, riding motorcycles, going to male hairdressers or entering house courts without wearing headscarves. The measures received criticism.

Source: Xinhua
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