Friday, June 27, 2008

Iguana Bar's alleged ban on patrons of Lebanese descent

A GROUP of young men was ejected from a Kings Cross nightspot after allegedly being told the venue had "an unwritten rule" about patrons of Lebanese descent.

Sydney draftsman Malkoun Taouk, 21, said he and his cousins, Charlie and Anthony Taouk, and their friend Sam Tarabay were "shocked and upset" by the request from a bouncer at the Iguana Bar in Kings Cross, made during a night out last Saturday.

Mr Taouk said the group, which was celebrating Charlie's 21st birthday, had spent about an hour at the venue and had just bought a second round of drinks when they were asked to go.

"The security guard approached us and said his boss told him to tell us to leave because it was pretty much an unwritten rule as to why we had to go," Mr Taouk said yesterday.

"We pretty much understood that it was because we were Lebanese."

Despite being hurt and angry about their treatment, the group decided to do as the security guard had requested.

"He said it in a nice way and he was patient with us and so we thought we'd just get our stuff and we left," Mr Taouk said.

"We thought if we sat there and argued with the guy, it'd just end up causing trouble and maybe a fight, so we just went.

"All we wanted was to have a few drinks and a bit of a laugh.

"We had no plans to make trouble with anyone and it was very upsetting to hear, 'Guys, you have to go'."

Mr Taouk said he had initially thought to challenge the bouncer about the Iguana Bar's "unwritten rule".

"We asked politely anyway, 'What rule are we breaking?'," he recalled. "(The response was,) 'No Lebanese, sorry'."

The fact that he and the rest of his party were, in fact, Australian-born just compounded the insult.

"I've always thought of myself as an Aussie and consider Australia my home. Why shouldn't I? Im an Australian citizen. I was born and raised in Sydney," Mr Taouk said.

The Iguana Bar did not return phone calls or emails yesterday.,22049,23926965-5007132,00.html

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