A number of recent reports from Gaza have given cause for concern about the direction the Hamas government is taking with regard to social freedoms and a religiously driven “virtue” promotion campaign. Specific incidents, coupled with public declarations by high-ranking officials, suggest a trend of increasing, forced “Islamisation”.
One high-profile case was the ruling by Gaza’s chief justice, Abdul-Raouf Halabi, at the end of last month, stipulating that female lawyers would be obliged to wear headscarves in court. Although this will not affect many, it was the principle of the order that disturbed both lawyers and human rights groups in the territory. Seven organisations issued a joint statement expressing their “concern” and the context of “a series of infringements upon public and personal freedoms in the Strip”. Read more