Attacks on those still-existing aspects of Gazan civil society which don’t conform to the strictures of Islamism continue, even if they are underreported in the West:
The Gaza Strip’s most senior judge said on Sunday that he has ordered all female lawyers to wear headscarves and a long, dark colored cloak under their black robes when they appear in court beginning September. Supreme Court chief justice Abdul-Raouf Halabi explained his decision as part of an effort to conform to Islamic law. “Showing a woman’s hair is forbidden,” 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.”
Improve work in the courts? There’s no evidence for that at all. What this latest order will do, however, is pose an interesting question to those who might still consider seeking justice from the Gaza courts: if Hamas dictates what Gaza’s lawyers can and can’t wear, what does that say about their ability to maintain any meaningful independence from the ruling party?
Subyiya 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 affected, 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.
Western feminists are up in arms about this attack on their Palestinian sisters’ rights. Women in Law are organising a writing campaign to express their dissaproval, Equality Now! are sending observers to monitor developments and the liberal press is buzzing with requests for more information, general outrage and offers of help and solidarity.
Only one of the five paragraphs above is made up. Can you guess which one?