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Hamas Puts Hairstylists in the Crosshairs

Hamas cracks down on male hairstylists who cut women's hair. Decree may reflect Gaza's growing acceptance of Islamic law.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/23/2011, 4:56 PM / Last Update: 2/23/2011, 6:10 PM

MFA

Hamas has found a new target in its battle to bring Gaza under Islamic law: male hairdressers. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which spoke to the Associated Press, several male hairdressers were recently arrested for cutting women's hair.

They were interrogated and forced to pledge to cut only men's hair in the future. Female hairdressers may cut only women's hair.

Hamas had published a notice in early February warning that men who cut women's hair would face arrest and trial.                     

The crackdown may signify that Gaza Arabs are increasingly accepting the prospect of rule by Islamic law. Hamas had tried to crack down on male hairdressers one year earlier, but decided not to due to public upset. However, the group apparently feels that it can now impose the law without difficulty.

Since it took power violently in 2006, the Islamist group has reinstituted the death penalty, prohibited women from smoking in public, and ruled that mannequins in stores must be dressed modestly.