Gaza male hairdressers barred from women`s salons

Hamas rulers ordered male hairdressers to stop working in women`s salons.

Gaza City: Male hairdressers in the Gaza
Strip say they have been ordered by the enclave`s Hamas rulers
to stop working in women`s salons or face prosecution and a
large fine.

"We received an official notice from the government to
go and sign a declaration according to which we agree not to
continue operating on the premises," salon owner Mohammed
al-Baltagi said.

Baltagi said he and four other colleagues who also own
women`s salons had signed the declaration, which states that
anyone who is caught on the premises in defiance of the order
would face prosecution and a fine of 20,000 shekels (4,000
euros or USD 5,000).

"Hamas police ordered us to sign it or face prison,
even though there is no law preventing men from working in
hairdressing salons," said Hatem al-Ghoul, another salon

Hamas officials refused to confirm
that the new rule, which was first mooted March 2010, was now
being enforced.

Although the order prohibits male owners from entering
their salons, it does not impose an outright ban on them
owning such businesses, as long as those working there are

It is not the first time the Islamist movement has
sought to clamp down businesses seen to be encouraging
excessive proximity between men and women, or showcasing items
or activities deemed to be `unsuitable.`

Last summer, Hamas published new regulations for shops
selling women`s clothing, barring them from having dressing
rooms or tinted windows, and insisting that the mannequins in
the front window be dressed modestly.

Around the same time, Hamas also banned women from
smoking water pipes in public places in an attempt to crack
down on the mingling of the sexes.

Hamas denies seeking to impose Islamic law in Gaza,
which has always been conservative, and has only taken a
limited steps to enforce modesty since it seized power in June

In 2009, it ordered women lawyers to wear the hijab,
or head scarf, in court and banned women from riding on
motorcycles. It has also banned men from working in women`s
beauty salons.