An Indian restaurant in Bahrain was closed down by the kingdom’s authorities after a woman wearing hijab was allegedly prevented from entering the outlet, local media said.
According to the Bahrainian newspaper the Daily Tribune, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) has begun a probe into the issue. A video of the woman being denied entry went viral on social media platforms in Bahrain, causing outrage.
BTEA has asked “all tourism outlets to comply with regulations and avoid enforcing policies that violate the laws of the Kingdom”, the report said.
“We reject all actions that discriminate against people, especially regarding their national identity,” the BTEA said in a statement. The restaurant, called Lanterns and located in the Adliya locality of Bahrain’s capital Manama, was closed in compliance with”Decree Law No 15 of 1986, which regulates the tourism outlets including restaurants and hotels”, the Daily Tribune said.
The restaurant addressed the controversy in an Instagram post, saying that a “mistake has been made by a manager who has been suspended and this doesn’t represent who we are”.
“Everyone is welcome to Lanterns as how it has been for more than 35 years that we have been serving all nationalities in the beautiful Kingdom of Bahrain. Lanterns is a place for everyone to come enjoy with their families and feel at home. In this instance, a mistake has been made by a manager who is now being suspended as this does not represent who we are. As a goodwill gesture, we welcome all our Bahraini patrons to Lanterns on Tuesday 29th of March to have complimentary food on us,” the statement says.
The Karnataka high court recently banned Muslim girls from wearing the hijab (head scarf) in classrooms, following a campaign by right-wing groups opposing the practice.