ZANZIBAR TELLS TRAVELERS NOT TO KISS
STONETOWN, Zanzibar (Reuters) -- Islamist groups in Zanzibar are worried by what they see as increasingly inappropriate behavior by Western tourists, saying their actions offend the Indian Ocean islands' conservative Muslim culture.
The organizations are also concerned about the spread of bars on the islands off mainland Tanzania, whose beaches and coral reefs make it a haven for honeymooners.
"Tourists should not indulge in sex acts or kiss openly, this is not something that people can accept," Farid Hadi, chairman of the Zanzibar Imams' Association (Jumaza), said on Wednesday.
"Every society has norms to be respected. We want a law that stipulates that while tourists are accepted, there are standards that forbid wearing very short dresses in public.
"In Islam non-Muslims can pursue their ways provided that, when doing so, they keep to themselves in a segregated manner."
Abdallah Said Ali, Secretary of the Society for Islamic Awareness, (UAMSHO), says the courts tend to side with the tourist industry's argument that too strict an interpretation of laws controlling alcohol sales are bad for business.
"When we tried to take legal action against one bar on those grounds we failed, and we were told we were trying to destroy the economy," he said.
Tourism is the second biggest foreign exchange earner for Zanzibar, but is expected to increase in importance because of the collapse of the islands' clove export trade due to a fall in prices caused by global oversupply.