Gaza Judge Rules Female Lawyers Must Wear Headscarves
Gaza Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul-Raouf Halabi released an edict today mandating that female lawyers must wear long dark clothing under their robes and scarves to cover their hair when they appear in court. The Hamas-appointed judge issued the order to keep women compliant with Islamic law. Halabi told the Associated Press that "showing a woman's hair is forbidden [in Islam]" and that "we will not allow people to corrupt morals. This [dress code] will improve work in the courts."
According to Reuters, Hamdi Shaqoura of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that the decision "violated personal freedoms." Since seizing power in 2007, Hamas has tried to make sure residents comply with the conservative culture of the area.
The headscarf decision will take effect September 1. The Palestinian Lawyers Syndicate, which represents Gaza Strip lawyers, has called for a review of the decision.
Media Resources: The Associated Press 7/26/09; Reuters 7/27/09; Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 7/26/09