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Hamas bans 'New Star' singing contest in Gaza

Jan. 16, 2012 9:18 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2012 11:43 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip has banned residents of the coastal enclave from participating in the national reality singing show "New Star."

The first episode of "New Star," which follows the format of popular shows like "American Idol" and "The X-Factor," was recorded in Gaza City via video link in December, and around 120 people turned up to audition.

But the successful contestants will not be able to continue in the competition as the Gaza government media office has since banned the talent show, which is produced by Ma'an TV and broadcast on the Ma'an-Mix satellite channel.

Hasan Abu Hashish, who heads the media office in the Hamas-run government, told Ma'an's public relations director Ala al-Abed that the program was "indecent."

The contest contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community, Abu Hashish said, adding that singing was the passion of a few and not in the interests of the majority of the community.

The show is in its second season. Singers from Gaza participated in the first series without incident.
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