GAZA STRIP - The Palestinian Hamas faction is continuing to impose Sharia (Islamic) law in the Gaza Strip.
Kayed Al-Ghoul, who serves in the political branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said Hamas is clamping down on Gaza residents with its "Morality Units" patrolling the streets to impose "proper behavior," the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported in a recent bulletin.
Women, who may not go outside with being accompanied by a male relative, are also being admonished not to laugh or talk in public.
"Hamas in Gaza today maintains a type of tyranny...and seeks, through undemocratic means of coercion and despotism, to enact laws that enforce their ideology and their party's world-view on the entire Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip," Al-Ghoul wrote in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam.
"Hamas enforces [wearing of] the headscarf and long gown [hijab and jalabiya] on female lawyers and students; it acts to separate the sexes in government departments by imposing a separation between the sexes in offices and waiting rooms, and it has prohibited mixed folk dancing," he wrote.
"Most dangerous, it has established Morality Units, run jointly by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which ask couples who walk on the beach to present a marriage contract and ask any woman walking alone on the beach to have an escort [male relative], and prohibit laughing and talking for women [in public], and have issued a religious ruling [fatwa] prohibiting men from swimming in shorts, with the rest of their bodies naked," the PFLP official stated in the article, published on September 3.
Source: Palestinian Media Watch