Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers have taken another step towards the implementation of strict Islamic sharia law in the region.
The latest step is introducing a strict dress code for female students at the Al-Aqsa University, Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi reports.
A letter distributed to students in November stated that all students should wear “modest clothing” on campus.
Al-Aqsa University president Salam al-Agha told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that the code, which is set to be implemented when the new semester begins, does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he described as dress befitting of the university.
He told Ma’an students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code.
Al-Agha said the code would be implemented by persuasion, and staff would give lectures on appropriate dress, including loose clothes, long jackets, and wide trousers.
He said that 97 percent of female students already dress appropriately, but the dress code was implemented to ensure all students dress properly to avoid attracting male desire.
Nevertheless, the decision has caused outrage among Palestinian Authority officials. Ali Jarbawi, PA Minister of Higher Education, issued an official response to the university's announcement, labeling the decision "illegal, and therefore null and unenforceable," according to Ma’an.
There is no system in place to define what constitutes "modest dress", Jarbawi said, adding that Article 11 of the Palestinian Basic Law specifically guarantees personal and public freedoms, which would overrule the decision by the Board of Al-Aqsa University.
Although the university enjoys financial, academic and administrative independence, it cannot implement policies which contradict the Basic Law, Jarbawi added.
One third-year student at the university told Ma'an, "If I had known before that the university would impose Islamic dress, I would not have registered here in the beginning."
The Cultural and Information Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by Hanan Ashrawi, slammed the university’s decision as being Taliban-like.
A statement from the department quoted by Al-Monitor said that the decision violates both human rights and Islamic teachings.
Since violently taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza. The terror group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.
Last year the Hamas government banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.”
Hamas claimed the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.