Indian Restaurant in Bahrain Shuttered for Denying Entry to Hijabi Woman

Authorities shut down a restaurant in Bahrain after a manager refused entry to a woman wearing a hijab. The Tribune News of Bahrain reported that the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) shut down the restaurant.

A video on social media of a woman explaining what had happened at Lanterns Lounge & Restaurant in Adliyah caught the attention of Bahrain’s authorities.

The BTEA also released a statement urging tourism outlets to comply with the laws of the Kingdom. “We reject all actions that discriminate against people, especially their national identity,” BTEA said.

The agency declared that it would pursue legal actions for the violation of Decree-Law No 15 of 1986. The law is a regulatory statute that governs tourism-related entities in Bahrain, including restaurants.

According to the Deccan Herald, a Karnataka-based news agency, the manager who blocked the woman was of Indian descent. The manager has been suspended indefinitely, according to the report.

In India, persecution of Muslim minorities is becoming strong public rhetoric. Currently, India is grappling with the issue of female Muslim students wearing their hijab in the classroom. Karnataka has banned wearing hijabs inside the classroom, citing school policies and prompting other states to follow.

Critics call it clear systemic discrimination against Muslim minorities in India.

Lanterns Lounge & Restaurant issued a public statement on their Facebook page. The restaurant declared that the manager “does not represent who we are.”

Lanterns Lounge & Restaurant, known famously by the locals as Lanterns, describes itself as an “Indian fusion restaurant and lounge that goes beyond the curry.” The restaurant’s Facebook page is labeled an Indian restaurant sporting a very positive review.

“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,” the restaurant said.

They also announced welcoming patrons to complimentary food as a goodwill gesture.

However, the Independent UK, in an update to their article regarding the incident, said the manager was British and not Indian.

A tweet from Mariam Naji, claiming she was the woman on the video, also verified that the manager was British.

However, this did not stop people from throwing harsh criticisms against the initial identity of the manager. One comment used Sanghi, a derogatory term for Indians holding bigoted views against Muslims.

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