From headbags to big black garbage bags, the ‘Hamasization’ of Gaza chips away at women’s rights

125052200_queen-bow-abaya-jilbab-islamic-muslim-clothes-dress-eid-SHARIA RULES: Nobody was surprised when the board of Al Aqsa University voted unanimously to impose an Islamic dress code on female students, requiring female students to wear the hijab (headbag) while on campus. But suddenly, they added something else, the abaya, a long black sack that extends to the feet, hiding skin and any curves in the woman’s body.

Al-Monitor  Al Aqsa University, a public university in Gaza, has introduced an Islamic dress code for women. After being characterized for more than 20 years by political and intellectual diversity, female students are now bound to adhere to a strict dress code, including an abaya (black sack) and hijab (headbag) while on campus. The decision has caused uproar and sparked heated debates.

Palestinian female students before

Gaza female university students before

Dr. Faiq al-Naouk, advisor for managerial affairs in Al Aqsa University and the decision maker, expressly denied the “Taliban” aspect of this decision. He reiterated that it was approved two months ago and would be implemented at the beginning of the next semester, underlining that he was not a Hamas representative on the university board.

Gaa female university students now

Gaza female university students now

Naouk elaborated on the implementation process, stressing that it was a matter of persuasion not coercion (for now). Female employees would stand at the front gate of the university to observe the students; any female with alluring apparel would be reprimanded, once or twice, until she abided by the decision. “If we were intransigent, I would not have received you while you were unveiled, but even though you weren’t veiled, we received you and gave you an interview. We are not extreme, we are moderate,” declared Naouk, addressing Al-Monitor’s reporter.

The Gaza government has taken some decisions that have been seen as sexist, religiously irrelevant, and merely related to personal interpretations. Women have been prohibited from riding bicycles and smoking water-pipes, it is not allowed to display lingerie in storefronts, and females are required to wear hijab in public schools and courts. This is all part of a national campaign to restore virtue implemented under the auspices of the police force.

Women's attire on public beaches in Gaza is strictly enforced by sharia police

Women’s attire on public beaches in Gaza is strictly enforced by sharia police

“Women’s rights in Gaza are regressing. Many decisions are being passed in secret and only become public by chance, such as the decision to destroy curriculum books that are thought to be morally corrupting, in addition to the imposition of the hijab in schools and the prohibition of female participation in folklore dancing. When Hamas officials are asked about these matters, they always end up finding shallow justifications,” said feminist activist Dunia al-Amal Ismail.

The decision taken by the board of Al Aqsa University to impose a dress code was against the law, since it was taken without the knowledge of the university’s board of trustees. (Kind of like Obama’s executive orders)

Rifle-toting women of the IDF dress for the weather

Rifle-toting women of the IDF dress for the weather, even on beach duty

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