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PA official: Female dress code at Gaza university 'illegal'
Published Sunday 27/01/2013 (updated) 06/03/2013 12:25
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Al-Aqsa University in Gaza City will implement the dress regulations
when the new semester begins. (MaanImages/File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education on Sunday issued an official condemnation over a Gaza university's decision to implement an "Islamic" dress code for female students.

Al-Aqsa University president Salam al-Agha told Ma'an Sunday that the code, which is set to be implemented when the new semester begins, does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he termed dress befitting of the university.

He said students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code.

Ali Jarbawi, PA Minister of Higher Education, issued an official response to the university's announcement, labeling the decision "illegal, and therefore null and unenforceable."

There is no system in place to define what constitutes "modest dress", Jarbawi said, and Article 11 of the Palestinian Basic Law specifically guarantees personal and public freedoms, which would overrule the decision by the Board of Al-Aqsa University.

Although the university enjoys financial, academic and administrative independence, it cannot implement policies which contradict the Basic Law, Jarbawi added.

One third-year student at the university told Ma'an: "If I had known before that the university would impose Islamic dress, I would not have registered here in the beginning."

The university president said the code would be implemented by persuasion, and staff would give lectures on appropriate dress, including loose clothes, long jackets, and wide trousers.

He said 97 percent of female students already dress appropriately, but the dress code was implemented to ensure all students dress properly to avoid attracting male desire.
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1 ) Ghassan / Palestine
27/01/2013 19:12
In our Palestinian tradition women & men (especially fellahin) cover their heads by scarf or Kuffiya, It seems that Hamas is unsatisfied for that and wants every Palestinian to cover his/her brain as well. Does Hamas want to transfer Gaza into Talbani’s zone. Today is Hijab and tomorrow they will forbid women and girls from attending schools. What about the day after? Who knows?

2 ) pal / us
27/01/2013 19:32
ali jarbawi the enemey of Allah

3 ) Nour / One-State
27/01/2013 19:36
Hamas will not have its backward, 12th century ways forced upon the proud and diverse people of Palestine. A reminder to them that personal freedoms of worship (and by extension - dress code) are not only inherent to the indigenous Palestinian identity but are also universally sanctioned. Basically, Hamas can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

4 ) Marianne / Belgium
27/01/2013 19:38
Sorry, I was teaching at this university and not in Hamas time. Most of the girls were dressed with the jalabiya and the scarf. The one who weren't were usually submit to comments from at least one professor of Coran subjects, a Fatah imam. Some girls who didn't want to dress like that were telling me: "We put the scarf to be in peace in the public space." i don't agree with "laws" on the way to dress but it's more a question of society than a question of party.

5 ) Chanda / Gaza
27/01/2013 20:39
What nonsense !!

6 ) Ghassan / Palestine
27/01/2013 21:25
[Ms Marianne] I agree with you many Muslim girls in Palestine & rest of Arab Home cover their heads in order to avoid any problems from extremists. Unfortunately, Many EUs & USA regimes have supported the Islamic movements in order to fight the unity in Arab Home. See what’s going on in Egypt, Iraq, Syria… etc. Unfortunately, western regimes EU & US have transferred the Arab Spring into Islamic Spring. In the past they used to fight the Arab regimes and now they support the Islamic movements :(-

7 ) Mel / USA
27/01/2013 23:54
#6:Ghassan:I agree.EU,UK&my own USG,have played secular & fundamentalist Arab factions(Palestinian & regional)AGAINST each other for DECADES,to block & avoid the one thing neo-colonialists FEAR the most. PAN-ARAB NATIONALISM & UNITY!And when it comes to Arabian ladies making their own intelligent decisions about their mode of dress,that's their RIGHT.They are dignified & respect their DIGNITY.The guys should TRUST them more.UNITE IN NATIONAL trust! Not DIVIDE in petty ideology....AGAIN!

8 ) ian / australia
28/01/2013 00:43
All a bit backward (and illegal) but all that's being asked for is "dress befitting of the university" and no-one will be punished for ignoring it. Not exactly the Taliban. (Doesn't everyone live with dress codes of some kind? And dress to fit in or not?) "...staff would give lectures on appropriate dress, including loose clothes, long jackets, and wide trousers." Lecture all they like but ultimately it's the students who decide what to wear (and it might conflict with traditional Palestinian

9 ) ian / australia
28/01/2013 00:45
(contd.) dress of SpongeBob sweater, head scarf and super tight jeans.) "...the dress code was implemented...to avoid attracting male desire." Could be hard given how cute Palestinians are. What? (Should I be taking this more seriously?)

10 ) saya / finland
28/01/2013 00:52
when we are muslims,we should follow qoran and sunnah and only law that is acceptable is law of God,so the dress code is very clear on that! who doesn`t like islam and doesn`t accept shariah law,maybe should think to go study in west,where you can dress what ever you want!!

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
28/01/2013 00:52
This is a fine thing to not fight about.

12 ) ayyub / New Zealand
28/01/2013 01:07
"the dress code was implemented to ensure all students dress properly to avoid attracting male desire." As a result of this misguided and counterproductive idea, the mind of the young adults is filled with daydreams of exposed skin. Ask them..

13 ) gabi / australia
28/01/2013 01:36
They look very, very attractive and so elegant, but . . .

14 ) What / The
28/01/2013 04:50
Hey could be worse you could be a jewish women and wrar a wig..

15 ) Reader / from Edmonton
28/01/2013 08:48
One uniform for all students.

16 ) charliehebdo / paris
28/01/2013 08:53
the picture yet is showing too much skin

17 ) Charity Clayton / UK
28/01/2013 09:44
This article is unspecific as to what the 'modest dress' might be. However, I can't help wondering why females should be held solely responsible for the purity of thought of a nation?

18 ) mb / mb,gaza
28/01/2013 14:01
1 ) Ghassan / Palestine27/01/2013 19:12 "Today is Hijab and tomorrow they will forbid women and girls from attending schools. What about the day after? Who knows?".... this has been case since when

19 ) Question / Palestine
28/01/2013 17:02
#10: Saya, writing from Finland, so you are a muslim? You live in Finland? If you do, and if you are a muslim, do you wear a hijab in Finland? Do you follow Quran and accept Sharia law as the only law? If you do, why are you living in Finland and not in a muslim country?

20 ) saya / finland
28/01/2013 22:59
al hamdulillah,i`m muslim and from finland,but living in palestine,and where ever i will go i will dress the same and that`s hijab,that`s not my choice,but rule from allah that every muslim must follow,like it or not. you can`t just choose the rules that you like and ignore the others.to be a muslim,isn`t just enough your words,you must prove it also by your actions.

21 ) gabi / australia
29/01/2013 01:33
# 19 - what a hate-filled statement!

22 ) ian / australia
29/01/2013 06:59
#17 "This article is unspecific as to what the 'modest dress' might be. However, I can't help wondering why females should be held solely responsible for the purity of thought of a nation?" Interesting Charity. Girls visiting the Haram al-Sharif or Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron (for eg.) are provided with long white skirts to cover up jeans. (Men in shorts have to drape some bit of fabric to cover legs which is often an improvement.) 'Modest dress' is just nothing too tight or revealing I imagine.

23 ) ian / australia
29/01/2013 07:00
(contd.) Al-Aqsa U. doesn't sound too draconian. Backward societies are often intensely patriarchal. So called "honour killings" result from the deep belief that the purity (virginity, morality) of young women is a "possession" of the male parent, family or group and that it can be tainted causing shame to these "owners"! This uni has a much milder form. Female students, as the "possessions" of the male dominated culture, are held responsible for the effect their dress/appearance has on men!

24 ) ian / australia
29/01/2013 07:01
(contd.) It's primitive, and weird, and places an absurd burden on young women, but it's gradually breaking down.

25 ) Kvetcher / Poland
29/01/2013 07:51
#19 your questions to #10 could be answered by the fact that she / he has the freedom of speech, and the freedom of dress, often not allowed in a Muslim country.

26 ) Nizar / Tanzania
29/01/2013 09:19
Now let PA also declare that honor killing of women is murder and will be treated as such

27 ) southparkbear / usa
01/02/2013 09:01
pay attention, honor comes first. we always hear about palestinians dignity, we can't take that dignity from them. conclusion since it is not banned it is legal

28 ) sylvia / UK
09/02/2013 17:53
Having spent a week in Gaza in November (2012) I can tell you that I didn't
cover my hair (I am not a Muslim) and it was NEVER suggested by anyone
that I should. Also I noticed the freedom to protest - I attended a large
demonstration (several thousand people) in Gaza city in support of the
UN non-member status bid. This was organized by Fatah but Hamas allowed
it to go ahead.

29 ) Maureen / Australia
19/02/2013 22:31
In my opinion, we in the Western world have no right to pass judgement on a request made for women in attending a Gaza uni to follow a certain dress code - the culture of alcohol/violence in among young people in our country is reaching crisis!

30 ) Maryam / Netherlands
22/02/2013 10:43
I agree with @29 wholeheartedly. There is such hatred from the West to what happens in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as if it is their job to implement their views onto the '3rd world countries'. At the same time the regimes need to pay attention to the whole context of the dress code. It is also written in the Qur'an and Hadith that a man should cover his knees among other things but we never mention the male dress code just that of our sisters!

31 ) clr / .ps
06/03/2013 18:36
@28,29,30.. i dont think u get it

32 ) Anonymous / Gaza
15/05/2013 23:35
Would it then be appropriate for universities to form a dress code that disallows women to come naked? In Islam and the Muslim culture, it is also immodest to wear tight jeans or show the hair. You (the West) have a lower standard of modesty and we have a higher standard. So let us be as we are and follow that which we believe in.
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