It's Apartheid day in Gaza...
Everyday is apartheid day in Gaza....
Gaza's Islamic Hamas government on Thursday banned men from working in women's hair salons, the latest step in its campaign to impose strict Islamic customs on Gaza's 1.5 million people.
Since seizing Gaza in 2007, Hamas has taken steps in that direction while avoiding a frontal assault on secularism. The majority of Gaza residents are conservative Muslims, but Hamas is under growing pressure from more radical groups to prove its fundamentalist credentials by imposing ever harsher edicts.
The latest measure irked one of the victims of the ban. Next thing you know, they will ban doctors from treating women, and will only let women treat women, said Barakat al-Ghoul, a 44-year-old hairdresser. Tomorrow, they will ban everything.
Al-Ghoul, who has cut women's hair for 26 years, said a ban would be devastating. He said he has no other way of making a living.
Islamic tradition forbids women from showing their hair to men who are not their husbands or blood relatives. Until now, though, exceptions were made for the eight known male hairdressers in women's salons in Gaza City.
Mohammed Fares, a salon owner who employs only women, said the first salons for women sprang up in Gaza in the 1950s. Some of the male stylists have a devoted following, and their customers accept long waiting periods to get appointments.
Fares said Hamas' new ruling takes away one of the last remnants of a more liberal lifestyle in Gaza that flourished decades ago, when the territory had cinemas and bars.
Since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, small ultra-radical Islamic groups have sprung up. Known as Jihadi Salafis, they advocate holy war and a strict, fundamentalist brand of Islam, dismissing Hamas as too pragmatic. They are suspected in dozens of bombings of Internet cafes, music stores and other alleged purveyors of vice. All cinemas and bars closed years ago.