Islamists crack down on secularists in Gaza

Israel's "partner in peace" strikes again. From the UK Telegraph:

Hamas has bullied men and women to dress modestly, tried to keep the sexes from mingling in public and sparked a flight of secular university students and educated professionals. Most recently, it has confiscated novels it deems offensive to Islam from a bookshop and banned Gaza's handful of male hairdressers from styling women's hair.Some argue that the case of Gaza could also be a warning sign for those pushing for quick democratic reforms in the region. Hamas rose to power in part by winning internationally backed parliamentary elections held in 2006.

Hamas officials say claims that they are trying to Islamise Gaza are meant to help deter the international community from recognising their rule. "This isn't true," said Yousef Rizka, a senior Hamas government official. "We respect freedom."

[...]

Gaza women, whose attire once varied from Western pants and skirts to colourful traditional embroidered robes, began donning ankle-length loose robes. Women with face veils, once rarely seen in Gaza, are now a common sight.

After winning the 2006 election, Hamas vowed it wouldn't impose Islamic law. But within two years, bureaucrats began ordering changes that targeted secular Gaza residents.

The harassment of unveiled women is only part of it. All vestiges of secular society have come under attack. There are even reports that men are being hassled for not wearing beards.

The question never seems to get asked; how can secular, democratic Israel make peace with these benighted, 9th century fanatics?

Don't ask Obama or his Middle East "experts." They're likely to say that it's Israel's fault that Islamic fundamentalism rules Gaza.

Israel's "partner in peace" strikes again. From the UK Telegraph:

Hamas has bullied men and women to dress modestly, tried to keep the sexes from mingling in public and sparked a flight of secular university students and educated professionals. Most recently, it has confiscated novels it deems offensive to Islam from a bookshop and banned Gaza's handful of male hairdressers from styling women's hair.

Some argue that the case of Gaza could also be a warning sign for those pushing for quick democratic reforms in the region. Hamas rose to power in part by winning internationally backed parliamentary elections held in 2006.

Hamas officials say claims that they are trying to Islamise Gaza are meant to help deter the international community from recognising their rule. "This isn't true," said Yousef Rizka, a senior Hamas government official. "We respect freedom."

[...]

Gaza women, whose attire once varied from Western pants and skirts to colourful traditional embroidered robes, began donning ankle-length loose robes. Women with face veils, once rarely seen in Gaza, are now a common sight.

After winning the 2006 election, Hamas vowed it wouldn't impose Islamic law. But within two years, bureaucrats began ordering changes that targeted secular Gaza residents.

The harassment of unveiled women is only part of it. All vestiges of secular society have come under attack. There are even reports that men are being hassled for not wearing beards.

The question never seems to get asked; how can secular, democratic Israel make peace with these benighted, 9th century fanatics?

Don't ask Obama or his Middle East "experts." They're likely to say that it's Israel's fault that Islamic fundamentalism rules Gaza.

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