Hamas Debates Further Implementation of Islamic Law in Gaza


Last week, Tower.org reported that Hamas officials were publicly debating a proposed penal code that would apply Islamic law to Gaza citizens. According to the report:

Hamas Logo
Hamas Logo

05.15.13 The new regulations would criminalize offenses that had previously not been offenses. It would also institutionalize floggings and hand amputations as punishments. Hamas officials are divided on whether it should be imposed on Gazans now, or only after the conclusion of ‘national liberation,’ a euphemism for the destruction of Israel:

The presidency of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza has released the draft penal code to civil-society organizations, Palestinian factions and Islamic scholars for discussion prior to its ratification by council members, who all belong to the Hamas movement in Gaza.

Hamas representative to the Legislative Council Yahya Moussa rejected the recently distributed draft law and affirmed that the Legislative Council had twice rejected the proposed formula due to its inclusion of Islamic forms of punishment. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Moussa said, ‘We are currently in the national liberation stage. We are not a state and cannot impose Islamic forms of punishment. The priority rests elsewhere, despite our urgent need to amend and discuss the law, but not in its current form.’

In April, UK media reported that Gaza was “gripped with fear that Hamas is driving the population towards militant Islamic fundamentalism.” The Daily Telegraph article discussed in detail the ongoing effort of Hamas to enforce Islamic Law in Gaza:

29 Apr 2013 It’s three weeks since his arrest but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22 year-old was filling cars at his family’s petrol station in Gaza City at 5pm on April 4th when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt, plain-clothed police stepped out and ordered him into the car. He was blindfolded and driven to the nearest police station.

‘I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me. Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,’ Mr Halou recalls.

It was only after the beating that police officers set to work trying to shave off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest. ‘

At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me. I found out from neighbours when I got home that it was because of my hair,’ Mr Halou explains, running a hand over the fuzzy regrowth on his head. He could not walk for three days after his release.

Most of them were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven. Some were shaven because their haircuts that were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. In at least two cases, police also cut-up jeans deemed too tight.”

Read the rest here.

Earlier in April, AFP reported on a new law banning mixed sex schooling in the Gaza Strip which will “ban the mixing of students from the two sexes in educational establishments after the age of nine, and work to ‘feminise’ girls’ schools.” The reported noted that  Hamas has in the past had enforced conservative religious laws, including telling schoolgirls in Gaza to wear traditional full-length robes and headscarves.

In May 2012, an Israeli journalist reported details on the treatment of women under the Hamas regime in Gaza.

In March of 2011,  Daily Telegraph published an article titled “Gaza’s Elected Islamist Rulers Crack Down On Secular Community” which reported on the Islamization of Gaza under Hamas rule:

25 Feb 2011 After nearly four years of Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip’s small secular community is in tatters, decimated by the militant group’s campaign to impose its strict version of Islam in the coastal territory.Women with face veils, once rarely seen in Gaza, are now a common sight. Hamas has bullied men and women to dress modestly, tried to keep the sexes from mingling in public and sparked a flight of secular university students and educated professionals. Most recently, it has confiscated novels it deems offensive to Islam from a bookshop and banned Gaza’s handful of male hairdressers from styling women’s hair.

Read the rest here.

In February 2011, Hamas imposed  a ban on motorcycle riders from carrying women on the back seat.

The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations.  A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood. A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman revealed that a coalition of London-based Muslim groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were behind the mass demonstrations staged to protest Israeli actions in the 2008 Gaza war and the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish affiliates were also intimately involved, along with the Turkish government, in the June 2010 Gaza flotilla that was involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces.

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