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Hamas ban on Western garments, hair styles criticized in Gaza

English.news.cn   2013-04-07 00:56:23            

GAZA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- The ban issued by the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip on Western garments and stylish haircuts is criticized by rights groups and lawmakers in the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Parents in Gaza have recently said the police detained their sons for several hours and questioned them for wearing "low waist" jeans and having spiky haircuts.

Ayman Batniji, a police spokesman, told Xinhua that the police arrested some young men for violating the general morals and traditions. "They are alleged of disturbing young women in the streets and imitating aspects that contradict the Palestinian society's habits."

He said the recent measures were carried out after the police had received some public complaints, while stressing these measures "are not part of an organized campaign."

However, in the last few days, witnesses said that more policemen and security vehicles were patrolling near schools, universities and public markets.

Also, Ihab al-Ghussein, head of the official media bureau of Hamas, said on his Facebook page that the measures "are part of an organized campaign to restore Islamic traditions and laws."

Many young men in the Gaza Strip said they had been violently stopped by policemen and had been badly beaten during interrogation.

However, their testimonies were denied by Batniji. "The measures are basically advice without violence or punishment... The police ask the detainees to sign a paper promising not to wear this kind of jeans and having such kind of haircuts."

Hamas government launched last year a campaign promoting Islamic virtue, which bars garment stores from displaying lingerie, short skirts or dresses in the front windows.

Witnesses said the police had recently intensified the campaign, mainly through surprise visits to garment stores located in commercial streets.

The witnesses said some of the stores owners were beaten and their garments burnt.

Mustafa Ibrahim, a Gaza-based activist of Human Rights, told Xinhua that these measures "are a direct intervention in the people's personal life."

"Forcing young men to sign a written commitment at police stations in Gaza is totally illegal," said Ibrahim. "All these measures are imposing an Islamic vision on the public by force."

He said Hamas has been imposing Islamic regulations since 2008, a campaign aiming to Islamizing the society and pleasing the radicals in Hamas.

Faisal Abu Shahla, a lawmaker in Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas, told Xinhua that Hamas' measures "are violating the logic of democracy and the public freedoms."

Yahia Musa, a Hamas lawmaker, told Xinhua that he supports the public criticism of Hamas police measures, saying the Hamas parliamentary committee of human rights has received several complaints, which called on the government to immediately stop these measures.

Editor: yan
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