Gaza university requires burqa for female students

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The Gaza Strip’s Al-Aksa University recently issued an order requiring female students to wear traditional Muslim garb from head to toe, including the burqa, starting in the second semester.

Although the Gaza university is a public institution affiliated with the Palestinian Education Ministry in Ramallah in the West Bank, it is controlled by Hamas.

Many students expressed indignation over the decision, saying it violates their freedom. But some female students praised the decision. One noted: “This order is natural; all women must dress modestly. That is what the religion requires of us as well.”

Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education Ali Jarbawi wrote a letter to the university president calling the order illegal, and a violation of Palestinian governmental regulations.

The university’s order is not the only indication of radicalization of education in Gaza. Last week, Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said a military school must be established next year to provide a structured curriculum from elementary school through the bachelor’s degree. He said the curriculum should integrate religious studies with military ones in order to train the next generation of commanders, “that can free Palestinian lands from sea to sea.” —