More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

More results...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

A Star Is Torn

The Hamas killing spree continues. The latest victim? Fun.

Organizers of the Palestinian version of “American Idol” said Thursday the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers have banned residents from participating in the popular reality show.

The organizers said Hamas told them the program is “indecent,” in what appears to be a new attempt by the fundamentalist militant Muslim group to crack down on behavior it sees as contrary to its conservative interpretation of Islam.

In the past, Hamas has banned women from riding on the backs of motorbikes, women from smoking water pipes, and men from working in hair salons – saying such practices were immodest. Not all bans are imposed uniformly.

The ban on competing in New Star came around the same time that Hamas police beat up members of Gaza’s tiny Shiite minority while they tried to hold a religious ceremony.

Alaa al-Abed, the chief producer of the “New Star” program, said the edict would prevent Gaza’s 12 contestants from competing in the upcoming second round of the competition Thursday night. It will be broadcast next month. He said he was informed of the decision last Saturday.

“This is more serious than Hamas just killing fun in Gaza – they are limiting the freedoms of the people, according to their whims,” al-Abed said. There was no official comment from Hamas.

In the past, Gaza contestants have competed via video conference due to travel restrictions imposed on Gaza residents by Egypt and Israel. This year Hamas banned that form of participation as well.

New Star is broadcast on satellite television in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. A panel of judges rate performers signing pop songs, and viewers vote for their favorites.Now in its third year, it is a popular show with Palestinians.

Al-Abed said he was told by the head of Gaza’s government press office, Hassan Abu Hashish, that the local singers could not compete because the program was not in compliance with the territory’s culture and it was not morally acceptable.

Al-Abed said he was told by the head of Gaza’s government press office, Hassan Abu Hashish, that the local singers could not compete because the program was not in compliance with the territory’s culture and it was not morally acceptable.

Abu Hashish could not be reached for comment. But a statement released Wednesday by his office accused New Star’s owners, the Palestinian news agency Maan, of incitement in a lengthy series of grievances about the company. Maan is based in the more liberal West Bank and receives generous funding from European donor nations.

“It has harmed (our) culture and traditions,” Abu Hashish’s statement read. They “show all of Gaza … as if its youth search for singing programs.”

Next on Hamas’ ban list: Abu Hashish himself. That’s not a name any self-respecting Islamist should tolerate.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Scroll to Top