GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gaza's top judge said Sunday that he has ordered female lawyers to wear Muslim headscarves when they appear in court, the latest sign that the Islamic militant group is increasingly imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law on residents of the coastal strip.
Supreme Court chief justice Abdul-Raouf Halabi said female lawyers will be required to wear a headscarf and a long, dark colored cloak under their billowing black robes when the court returns from its summer recess in September.
Halabi said his order was designed to ensure that women dress in accordance with Islamic law, which requires women to cover up in public, wearing loose garments and only showing their hands and faces.
"Showing a woman's hair is forbidden (in Islam)," the Hamas-appointed Halabi told The Associated Press. "We will not allow people to corrupt morals. This (dress code) will improve work in the courts."
Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007 and vowed never to impose its conservative values on others. But it has taken a series of steps in recent months that appear to be aimed at forcing residents to accept its Islamic-oriented social agenda.
Police have pressured store owners to cover scantily clad mannequins, and men relaxing on the beach have been ordered to put more clothes on. One secondary girls' school has made wearing a Muslim headscarf and loose robe a mandatory uniform in the upcoming school year.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights issued a statement describing the new dress code for female lawyers a "dangerous violation of personal freedoms and women's rights."
The Hamas government formally says it is not imposing Islamic law on the territory's 1.4 million residents. Instead, it says it is simply ensuring that residents behave in line with the territory's own conservative culture.
Most women already wear the headscarf, and life in the Mediterranean strip comes to a complete standstill on Fridays as men gather for communal prayers in mosques.
Subhiya Juma, a female lawyer, said the judge's decision would affect only 10 or so lawyers — since the vast majority of the 150 registered female lawyers already cover their hair.
Juma, who does not wear a headscarf, said the point wasn't the number of women, but that freedoms were being eroded.
"This is dangerous — it's a clear violation of the law, it is taking away our personal freedoms — and by whom? The very person who is meant to defend our freedoms," Juma said.
Now ....after reading this, one must conclude that ALL the lawyers are muslim. That is NOT the case. The standards of Islamic law is being thrust upon anyone living in Gaza. There are non-muslim lawyers. They are NOT exempt from wearing the headscarf.
What does that tell us?
Islam does not care if you are muslim or not, as long as you live in an Islamic country, you WILL abide by Islamic law.
Now when muslims come to the United States....they shall abide by American law.
Do they? Most do.
Some do not, and they press other muslims to resist American Constitutional law.
Americans must not be led into a double standard. If we want muslims to abide by our set of law....the same must be in place for Islamic countries. If you live there, you should abide by their set of laws.
Including wearing the hajib. I see journalists wearing them, as did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But if a muslim woman wants to free herself of the headscarf...well...in America...she should be able to do so.
Just don't get killed doing so.....