Hamas to enforce gender segregation in Gaza schools

(JNS.org) Hamas has approved a new law in Gaza that will ban men from teaching in girls' schools and enforce gender segregation past the age of 9. The law, which was approved by Hamas’s Education Ministry on Monday, will go into effect for the next school year.

Click photo to download. Caption: Hamas flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

"We are a Muslim people. We do not need to make people Muslims, and we are doing what serves our people and their culture," Waleed Mezher, the Hamas Education Ministry's legal adviser, told Reuters.

Since most Hamas-run schools in Gaza are already gender-segregated, the decision will affect Christian and private schools most significantly. Human rights activists voiced criticism regarding the new measure.

“Instead of hiding behind traditions, why don't they say clearly they are Islamists and they want to Islamise the community,” said Zeinab Al-Ghoneimi, a Gaza activist for women’s rights.

Hamas, a terrorist organization that has ruled the Gaza Strip since a bloody coup against its Palestinian rival group Fatah in 2007, has increasingly implemented strict Islamic laws in the coastal enclave, including banning alcohol and placing restrictions on women.

Early last month, the Gaza Marathon was canceled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, an agency in charge of Palestinian refugee affairs in Gaza, after Hamas banned women from competing.    

Posted on April 3, 2013 .