GAZA STRIP - Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, announced on Monday that school girls not wearing full length dresses (jibab) and Muslim head coverings at government schools would be sent home.
The Hamas-ruled Education Ministry, in sink with the Religious Affairs Ministry, specified that the jibab must be dark blue and the head coverings white.
An estimated 250,000 Gaza children began the new school year on Sunday, while another 200,000 attend UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools.
UNRWA officials maintain close contact with the ruling Hamas party.
While Hamas officials continue to deny that Sharia (Islamic) law is being imposed on Gaza residents, reports of "modesty patrols" in public shopping areas and at the beach have begun enforcing dress codes and gender separation on area residents.
With the imposition of dress codes and Sharia law, the Islamization of the Gaza Strip is increasingly evident.
Gender separation at schools include the teaching staff, i.e., male teachers only for boys and female teachers only for girls, the London-based Arabic daily, al-Quds al-Arabi reported.
Meanwhile, Hamas Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul-Raouf Halabi announced at the end of last month that female lawyers would be required to wear Muslim head coverings and a long dark cloak under their black robes in court.