Daily Israel Report

Senior Hamas Official Campaigns Against 'Honor Killings'

In surprising move, high-ranking Hamas official calls for Palestinian Arabs guilty of promiscuity to marry - not die.
By Dalit Halevy, Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/24/2014, 11:30 PM

Women in Gaza (illustrative)
Women in Gaza (illustrative)
Flash90

Dr. Yunis Al-Astal , a member of the Council of Scholars of Palestine and an MP in the Hamas "parliament," sharply criticized Sunday the phenomenon of honor killings in Palestinian Arab society.

In his statement, Astal argued that honor killings is a more serious crime than the reason behind the honor killings itself, as punishment for premarital sex - which is the most common reason for the murders, according to Astal - is only one hundred lashes, not execution.

Astal also clarified that while adultery is punishable by stoning according to Sharia Law, the sentence needs to be handed down by the court, not by family members. He slammed the fact that, often, honor killings are carried out in secret - with only close family members knowing her fate. 

The Hamas MP urged Palestinian Arabs to solve problems with promiscuity not by murder, but through arranging the two guilty parties to marry. 

The move may come as a surprise to some, as Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza since violently taking power there in 2007.

The group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.

The group also introduced a strict dress code for female university students, demanding that they wear “modest clothing”.

Last year the Hamas government banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.”

Hamas claimed the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.