Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Hamas Imposes Islamic Dress Code on Students

by David Bedein

With the commencement of the school year next week, The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Hamas has imposed an Islamic dress code on female students.

Hamas announced that female students must wear Islamic dress in schools starting from the current academic semester. The dress code stipulated head covering and full-length robes and required that teachers instruct only those of the same sex.

"Any female student that does not attend class in the proper attire will be sent home," Hamas said on Aug. 24.

The Hamas regulation came in wake of numerous denials by the Islamic regime in the Gaza Strip of plans to impose a dress code for females. Hamas has also established a so-called modesty police force aimed to prevent the mixing of sexes at beaches or unmarried couples in cars.

Under the dress code, the head covering of the girls must be white, and wear a blue robe.

"The uniform should be as follows: Navy blue jilbab with white headscarf and black or white shoes," said the announcement. "We request that all girls follow these instructions."

The Palestinian Education Ministry has banned the employment of male teachers at girls' schools and women teachers in boys' schools. The regulations would directly affect the 250,000 students of government schools, which began the academic year on Aug. 23.

On Aug. 24, Palestinian sources said several girls were sent home when they arrived to school in jeans. The sources said Christian girls in government schools were also forced to observe the Muslim dress code.

In 2009, Hamas, amid the rise of Al Qaida, imposed Islamic law on the Gaza Strip, including forcing female attorneys to wear Islamic dress. Hamas has also been pressing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), with 200,000 enrolled in its school system, to abide by the regulations.

Hamas controls recently won control of the UNRWA teachers association, winning 85 percent of the vote.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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