Mazaj Cafe

Closure of Baghdad hotspot sparks controversy among locals

BAGHDAD – The recent shutdown of Cafe Mazaj, located on Al-Amel Street in the Ameriya neighborhood of west Baghdad, has sparked debate among locals. Some support the closure, citing the cafe’s alleged misalignment with community values, while others contend the action was driven by ulterior motives, such as extortion.

Repeatedly closed for purported regulatory breaches and following complaints about loud parties and the ’employment of female staff attracting youth,’ Cafe Mazaj’s latest shutdown has fueled controversy, particularly as similar establishments nearby continue operating.

Mohammed Attiya, a local, praised the move to 964media: “This is a positive development. Bless those working to eliminate havens of corruption to safeguard our youth.”

Abu Ali shared his approval: “Praise be to those committed to virtue. As the saying goes, if you see wrong, act to correct it with action, words, or at least reject it inwardly, which is the minimum of faith.”

However, Ahmad Amer challenged the closure’s rationale: “It’s baseless. They’re simply after a license the cafe owner lacks.”

It is often alleged that many establishements operate without such licences without being singled out.

Ali Al-Musawi criticized percieved selective enforcement, highlighting a perceived neglect by authorities: “Officials target cafes owned by the less connected, ignoring others that engage in similar activities. This disparity underscores deeper issues of fairness and governance in our community.”