News has just come in that Hamas has banned women in the Gaza Strip from smoking waterpipes.

AP reports via the Brandon Sun:

[. . .]

The ban marks the Islamist militant group’s latest effort to impose their harsh Muslim lifestyle in the seaside strip on an often resistant public.

While Muslim law does not technically ban women from smoking the traditional tobacco-infused pipes, tradition frowns upon the habit. Hamas frequently mixes its strict interpretation of Islamic law with conservative Gaza tradition, and over the weekend, the two dovetailed to produce the smoking ban.

“It is inappropriate for a woman to sit cross-legged and smoke in public. It harms the image of our people,” Ihab Ghussein, Hamas interior ministry spokesman, said in a statement released Sunday.

[. . .]

“This is silly,” fumed Haya Ahmed, a 29-year-old accountant who said she has smoked water pipes for 10 years. “We are not smoking in the streets but in restaurants where only a few people can enter.”

She predicted the ban would have the opposite effect of its intention and make water pipes more tempting for rebellious young women. “Everything forbidden becomes desirable. The decision will lead to more smokers,” Ahmed said.

[. . .]

Many Palestinians see the water pipe as inappropriate for women because of its sexual innuendo, and because it looks crass for ladies to smoke, said Palestinian anthropologist Ali Qleibo.

[. . .]

Apparently, the oral insertion of cylindrical or conic objects is not just a popular topic of US teen flicks but also a matter of great concern to Hamas.

Guess that sucks. Either way.

P.S.: Does that imply there are homoerotic connotations to men smoking waterpipes?

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