The police in Iran closed 547 cafes and restaurants in Tehran, the country’s capital city, during the last week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The reason? These establishments had reportedly not adhered to “Islamic principles” when conducting business!
Iran currently follows tenets of the strict Sharia law, which, among other things, disallows women in public if they are not wearing headscarves.
The country was of recent believed to be heading towards a laxer enforcement of Sharia law, even as modern eateries come up across the nation.
547 Tehran restaurants closed
Greater Tehran police chief Hossein Rahimi confirmed the action on the cafes and restaurants, wich involved raids and closures.
“The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Rahimi was quoted as saying according to a police statement, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
The various accusations against the eateries reportedly included “unconventional online marketing of the business, playing illegal music and debauchery.”
Local reports suggest this means the restaurants were playing Western music, and had patrons who included women without headscarves.
Action elsewhere as well
According to a Radio Farda report, similar action was taken in other cities, like Isfahan: 305 restaurants were sealed there.
The action seems to stem from a stricter interpretation of the law that is in place in the country during the holy month of Ramadan.
Devout Muslims during the month fast from sunrise to sunset, feasting only during the night. In consonance with this, Sharia law prohibits restaurants from being open during the daytime.
The police have also been known to not only arrest but jail or flog people who eat or drink in public during the fasting hours.
While eating and drinking during the fasting hours is not illegal, a person doing so can be held guilty in court of performing an act that is “haram” — prohibited by religion.