Islamists threaten Gaza women

From the Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2:

A hitherto unknown group calling itself the Just Swords of Islam issued a warning to Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip over the weekend that they must wear the hijab or face being targeted by the group’s members.

In pamphlets distributed in various parts of the Gaza Strip, the group also claimed responsibility for attacks on 12 Internet cafes over the past few days.

The warning was directed primarily against female students in a number of universities and colleges who do not cover their heads in line with Islamic tradition.

The group said its followers last week threw acid at the face of a young woman who was dressed “immodestly” in the center of Gaza City. They also destroyed a car belonging to a young man who was playing his radio tape too loudly.

Addressing female students, the group said: “We will have no mercy on any woman who violates the traditions of Islam and who also hang out in Internet cafes.”

According to the group, its members used rocket-propelled grenades to attack 12 Internet cafes and a number of music shops in different parts of the Gaza Strip.

It said the places were targeted because they
were “distracting an entire generation of Palestinians from their duty to worship [Alla] and jihad so that they could serve their Zionist masters and the Crusaders.”

Hamas officials denied any connection to the group, noting that their movement does not resort to methods of “intimidation and terror” against the people.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip reacted with mixed feelings to the group’s threats. While many seemed to support the demand that all women wear the hijab, others expressed fear that the group was trying to create a Taliban-style regime.

See our last post on Gaza.

  1. Palestinian paper says Salafi group behind Internet cafes blasts
    Palestinian paper says Salafi group behind Internet cafes blasts

    4 December 2006

    Text of unattributed report “Salafi group threatens Internet cafes in Gaza Strip”, carried by Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam website on 2 December

    Gaza – Two days ago, a group calling itself the Islamic Swords of Justice in the Land of Ribat [Suyuf al-Haqq al-Islamiyah fi Ard al-Ribat] issued a strongly worded warning to Palestinian girls who dress improperly that they should wear the Islamic dress to protect themselves against any attack that might be perpetrated by the supporters of the group. In a statement distributed in Gaza City, the group warned girls who wear garments that play up their charms that they should abandon this dress and follow the female dress code specified in the Islamic Shari’ah.

    The group said it had warned several university female students who dress madly and improperly and who frequent internet cafes around universities. The group stressed that its supporters would show no mercy towards girls who do not stop these immoral acts. The group had also warned several cab drivers, who harass girls and university female students, saying it would punish them and publish their names if they do no cease their acts.

    The statement noted that the group threw sulphuric acid at the face of a woman, who was wearing a provocative dress in the Unknown Soldier Square in Gaza City on Tuesday evening. The group also smashed a car in Al-Nasr quarter in Gaza after its owner had been warned not to play loud music in his car while driving drive fast during the night.

    The group also claimed responsibility for the bombings that took place two days ago against 12 Internet Cafes and shops selling cassettes and CDs. The group said its members set off explosive devices and fired rocket propelled grenades at Internet cafes and music shops in Gaza.

    The group said the reason behind these bombings is that these shops “aim to preoccupy a whole generation of youth and deflect them jihad and prayer and to serve the Zionist Jews and their masters the Crusaders.”

    The group said it bombed two of the biggest music shops in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on the early morning of 30 November.

    Several similar attacks on Internet cafes occurred in the northern Gaza Strip a few months ago. The worst was the attack carried out by unknown persons on the Unknown Soldier statue in the Gaza City centre, inflicting heavy damage to it. The identity of the perpetrators was not disclosed, but most reports indicated a Salafi group was behind these incidents.

    Asked about this phenomenon in the Gaza Strip, Dr Isma’il Radwan, Hamas official spokesman, said: “We in Hamas do not approve of any lawless act that strengthens the state of chaos in the Palestinian territories.” He emphasized that any attempt to change the situation cannot take place by intimidating people and blowing up their shops. He indicated that if change was needed, it should take place through legal methods. Radwan said these acts are contrary to the ethics and norms of Palestinian society. He said it is better for them if they reform the people through the law, because these incidents contribute to confusion. He called on the Palestinian security services to carry out their duty in preserving security and controlling the moral situation within Palestinian society.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Khalid Abu-Hilal said: “What is happening is part of the state of lawlessness and chaos prevailing in Palestinian society.” He emphasized that the security services will step up their activity in the next few weeks to confront the state of lawlessness, especially in the Gaza Strip.

    For his part, Jamil Majdalawi, member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, stressed that what is happening in the Gaza Strip is a form of thuggery. He denounced all kinds of attacks on people’s lives and properties on the pretext of protecting religion and morals. He said the law is the surefire way to deal with all defects in Palestinian society. He stressed that religion cannot be imposed by the force of arms. Prophet Muhammad said that the essence of religion is “to offer them a better argument.” He also stressed that departure from the law is a prelude to the practicing of tyranny and terrorism in all their forms inside Palestinian society. It is also a gate to corruption. He emphasized that corruption and tyranny are two faces of the same coin leading the Palestinian people to the abyss.

    Source: Al-Ayyam website, Ramallah, in Arabic 2 Dec 06