Bahrain plans ban on liquor, female singers

Culture and information minister orders one and two-star hotels to shut their bars & discos.
CRACK DOWN: The ban would affect close to 33 two-star hotels, six one-star hotels and six unclassified hotels.(Getty Images)
By Neeraj Gangal
Sat 18 Apr 2009 11:17 AM

Bahrain's culture and information minister has ordered one and two-star hotels to close down their bars and discos, a Gulf News report says.

Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa has also asked hotels in the oil kingdom not to sell liquor and to ban female singers from performing in their halls and restaurants.

The daily added that the ban would affect close to 33 two-star hotels, six one-star hotels and six unclassified hotels.

The ban, effective Friday, may be extended to three and four-star hotels.

"We applaud the courage of Sheikha Mai whose commitment to a genuinely clean Bahrain deserves to be lauded at all levels," said Fareed Abdul Hadi, a university professor and preacher at the Adliya Mosque, in his Friday sermon, according to Gulf News.

"Several information ministers have tried to impose this ban, but their efforts were invariably defeated by those who do not care an ounce about the country's reputation. We are aware that the hoteliers and those who thrive on vice will do their utmost to reverse the ban, but we are confident that Shaikha Mai will be able to uphold our national and religious values," he added.

However, the hotel and restaurant owners’ society in the gulf kingdom has called the move illegal and plans to challenge it in the court of law.

Ahmad Sanad, the head of the hotel and restaurant owners' society, said: "The ban will hurt many people whose income and families depend on hotels. Many proprietors have invested millions of dinars and the ban will mean financial and legal problems. The ministry should think about compensating them for their losses."

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An Internet report has ranked Manama among the top ten vice cities in the world, the daily notes.

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