An Indian restaurant in Bahrain faces action by the authorities after a Burqa-clad woman alleged that she was denied entry due to her dress.
According to the Bahrainian newspaper, the Daily Tribune, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA), has initiated a probe against an Indian restaurant in Bahrain after its manager allegedly denied entry to a local woman in Burqa.
A video of the woman allegedly being denied entry went viral on social media platforms in Bahrain, causing rage.
BTEA has asked “all tourism outlets to comply with regulations and avoid enforcing policies that violate the laws of the Kingdom”, the Daily Tribune reported.
“We reject all actions that discriminate against people, especially regarding their national identity,” the BTEA said. 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.
“Was surprised that my friend was not allowed to enter the restaurant because she was wearing the veil,” expressed the woman’s friend who had accompanied her to the restaurant, in a video shared on social media. “Restaurants are supposed to avoid making such decisions because it is in a country where Muslims are the majority,” she added.
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 restaurant management posted.
The Karnataka high court recently banned Muslim girls from wearing the hijab in classrooms.
The Bahrain incident added fuel to the debate already going viral on social media around the High Court’s decision.
Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweeden, Ashok Swain, tweeted, “The restaurant manager in Bahrain, an Indian Hindu, refused entry to a hijab-wearing Muslim woman. Bahrain authority decided to close down the restaurant. Hindu right-wing stupidity has no limits.”
Some have claimed that the manager was from Karnataka. However, a Bahrain-based woman, who claims to be a friend of the veiled woman, has claimed the manager was British.
“The truth is the manager is British, not Indian,” she tweeted.