Books (illustrative)
Books (illustrative)Israel news photo

The de facto Hamas government in Gaza pulled two Arab authors’ novels from stores’ shelves on Sunday because they were contrary to Muslim law known as Sharia.

The order on the ban of “Chicago” and “Feast for the Seaweeds” was issued last week because they “don’t agree with the teachings of Islamic Sharia.” An Arab human rights group said the ban violates freedom of expression and warned that more bans will “take place for different political backgrounds.”

The confiscations represent a further tightening of its grip on Gaza society, where terrorists already have frequently burned churches, Internet cafés, music stores and pubs. Hamas also has prohibited women from riding motorcycles and going to male hairdressers.

Hamas Culture Minister Ehab Senwar justified pulling the books from the stores because residents complained about the novels.

“Chicago,” written by an Egyptian native who has lived in the United States for several years, is laced with sexual material, both implicit and complicit. A New York Times book review two years ago noted that “Al Aswany writes about his Egyptian characters with charm, gentle humor and genuine conviction.”

"A Banquet for Seaweed," by Syrian writer Haidar Haidar, has been called blasphemous in several Muslim countries because it refers to Allah as a “failed artist” and describes the Muslim prophet Mohammed as a womanizer.