Daily Israel Report

Hamas Bans Gaza's "American Idol"

Hamas government bans residents of Gaza from participating in "New Star," its own reality show, citing indecency.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/17/2012, 5:14 AM

The Hamas government has banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency is reporting.

The first episode of the show, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor,” was recorded in Gaza City in December, and around 120 people turned up to audition.

However, the successful contestants will not be able to continue in the competition, as the Gaza government media office has since banned the show.

Hasan Abu Hashish, who heads the media office in the Hamas-run government, was quoted by Ma'an as having said the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.

Abu Hashish said that singing was the passion of a few and not in the interests of the majority of the community.

Ma’an noted that the show is in its second season and that singers from Gaza participated in the first one without incident.

Since violently taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza. The terror group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.

Saudi Arabia has just begun to allow women salespersons in women's lingerie stores, replacing the men who up to now sold the apparel to heavily veiled and robed women customers without seeing them.