Gaza, Dec 30 (IANS) The Hamas movement on Wednesday said Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were banned from celebrating the New Year, claiming that it contradicts with the Islamic Sharia law, a media report said.
“Celebrating the New Year in the Gaza Strip contradicts with Islam and its regulations. It is a western tradition in the first place and we never accept to have it in Gaza,” Xinhua quoted Hamas police spokesman in Gaza Ayman Batniji as saying in a text message sent to reporters.
He said owners of hotels, cafes and restaurants were informed that they were not allowed to celebrate the New Year.
In response, Gaza-based rights groups slammed the move, saying the decision restricts public freedom in the impoverished and blockaded enclave.
Mustafa Ibrahim, a Gaza rights activist, told Xinhua that the decision was “based on ideological considerations and it has nothing to do with the basic Palestinian law that guarantees public freedom with no restrictions”.
The Palestinian consensus government, which was formed in June 2014 upon an agreement between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has repeatedly complained that Hamas still runs Gaza, especially in security.