The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is getting flack from rival lawmakers and rights groups over a ban on “Western garments and stylish haircuts.”
According to a report from the Chinese Xinhua news agency Saturday, Gazan parents have recently been complaining that police are detaining their sons and grilling them for hours on end for the crime of wearing low-rise jeans and rocking spiky hairstyles.
Many youths in Gaza were violently arrested and beaten during their interrogations, the report said.
According to Ihab al-Ghussein, a Hamas spokesman, the recent crackdown on skinny jeans is part of “an organized campaign to restore Islamic traditions and laws.”
However, a police spokesman quoted by the report said that intense interrogation sessions weren’t about the risqué apparel per se, but rather due to the fact that the boys “are alleged of disturbing young women in the streets and imitating aspects that contradict the Palestinian society’s habits.”
Last year, Hamas declared a venture to promote “Islamic virtue” and, among other measures, barred clothing outlets from displaying lingerie and short dresses and skirts in their display windows.
The report cited witnesses to the effect that the campaign was recently stepped up, and that Hamas personnel have been paying “surprise visits” to stores, often beating their owners and burning merchandise.
Gazan human rights activist Mustafa Ibrahim was quoted as saying that the campaign was “a direct intervention in the people’s personal life.”