The Gaza Strip's Al-Aqsa University recently advertised a sweeping order that beginning in the second semester, female students will be required to arrive in traditional Muslim garb, from head to toe, burka included.
Although the university is a public institution seemingly affiliated with the Palestinian Education Ministry in Ramallah,
it is controlled by Hamas.
Many students have expressed indignation over this decision, claiming that it violates their public freedom.
One of the students claimed that women in Gaza's traditional society are modestly dressed when in public, but that some prefer wearing pants and a long overcoat rather than a burka,
abaya or hijab.
On the flipside, some female students actually praised the decision. One of them noted that "this order is natural; all women must dress modestly. That is what the religion requires of us as well."
Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education Ali Jarbawi stressed that the decision is void and cannot be executed. He wrote an official letter to the university president in which he clarified that the regulation is illegal and violates Palestinian governmental decisions.
Dr. Faiq al-Naouk, advisor for managerial affairs at Al-Aqsa University ,
referred to the controversial decision and said that it will be gradually implemented as an act of good will before it becomes mandatory.
Hamas security forces ceremony
The university's decision is not the only indication of radicalization in the Hamas' approach to education. Last week, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh
declared that a military school must be established next year to provide a structured and comprehensive curriculum from elementary school and up to bachelor's degree studies.
Haniyeh stated that the curriculum will integrate religious studies with military ones in order to train the next generation of commanders, "that can free Palestinian lands from sea to sea."
Haniyeh announced his educationally-related plans at a ceremony held at Gaza's Al-Yarmouk soccer stadium at an end-of-the-year ceremony. Numerous Hamas
officials were present and teens marched dressed in uniform, camouflaged and sporting fake guns.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: email@example.com
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