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Daily Israel Report

How Hamas is Islamicizing Gaza

A Shin Bet report describes how Hamas has instituted Islamic law in all areas of Gaza life since its violent takeover of the area.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/29/2009, 2:34 PM / Last Update: 11/29/2009, 2:17 PM

A report by the Shin Bet (Shabak, Israel’s secret security force) describes how Hamas has instituted Islamic law and thought in all areas of Gaza life since its violent takeover of the area. 

Hamas is also threatening to take over Judea and Samaria, and is favored to win the next elections, if and when they are held.

Among the report’s main points are these:

  • A dress code for women on the street, in schools and in courts is enforced. Principals can expel female students who do not wear a head covering and wide dresses. Judges have been instructed not to hold sessions if female lawyers do not appear in Islamic garb. On official Hamas TV, Al-Aqsa, women announcers wear a veil, and Islamic content is increasingly featured in the programs.
  • Men may not swim in the ocean without a shirt, and female mannequins may not be exhibited in store windows.
  • Mixed-gender public ceremonies may not be held, and men may not teach in girls’ schools. Hamas is also trying to separate boys and girls in the UN-run schools. Fatah-identified teachers are being replaced by Hamas members.
  • Hamas police arrest immodestly clad women and enforce gender separation. Unmarried couples may not appear in public; married couples must be ready to produce a marriage certificate on demand.
  • Religious-studies classes have been added in schools, mosques and prisons. Prisoners who become more religious can have their sentences shortened.
  • An across-the-board 1% public sector pay cut was imposed during the summer months in order to pay for summer camps for reviewing the Koran. The pace of building mosques, medrasahs and Islamic sharia courts is being stepped up.
  • Hamas is working on establishing the Islamic National Bank and an Islamic insurance company.
  • The Bureau for Legal Counsel and Legislation is preparing a new criminal code based on Islamic law. In June 2009, for instance, the Legislative Council passed amendments to the code for the purpose of “preventing immoral incidents in public.”
The Shabak report emphasizes that the instilling of these and other Hamas ideas into public life is the result of a carefully orchestrated Hamas program. Hamas, as the ruling body in Gaza, “dictates daily Islamic routine,” the report states.

In addition, the report notes, some organizations have cropped up to the right of Hamas, claiming that Hamas is too compromising and moderate.