The Hamas government has banned motorcycle riders from carrying women on the back seat – the latest in the militants’ virtue campaign in Gaza. The ban was posted on Hamas Interior Ministry Web site on Tuesday. It says the ban seeks “to preserve citizen safety and the stability of Palestinian society’s customs and traditions.” Hamas wants to impose a strict interpretation of Islam. Its other efforts have included breaking up mixed couples on the beach and obliging female lawyers to wear headscarves in court. The group insists compliance with the campaign is voluntary and reflects Gaza’s conservative ways, but reports have surfaced of offenders being beaten or arrested. Gazan women almost never drive motorcycles, and rarely even ride behind men.
The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an Israeli TV station has reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” have traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. An early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. Last June, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the recent conflict. An earlier post reported a statement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood claiming that Hamas was “an independent entity”