Jerusalem: The Palestinian Islamist
movement Hamas has banned women in Gaza from riding on
motorbikes, amid growing concerns that a new Islamisation
campaign may be underway.
Hamas, which remains in control of the Gaza Strip
after it took full security control over the enclave following
a near-civil war with its rival faction Fatah in mid-2007, has
sought to justify the ban in a bid "to preserve citizen safety
and the stability of Palestinian society`s customs and
The ban, posted on the movement`s interior ministry
website, raises concerns that a new Islamisation campaign is
under way, the Guardian newspaper said today.
Since the summer there have been signs of a socially
conservative campaign. In July, a senior judge announced a
dress code under which female lawyers would have to wear
conservative robes and headscarves in court, the British daily
Hamas stormtroopers have also reportedly tried to
prevent unmarried couples from mixing together in public and
banned mannequins and the display of women`s underwear in shop
windows, the report said.
For the first three years that Hamas was in power in
Gaza there was little sign of any effort to Islamise society.
Instead the group focused on exerting its military control,
confronting armed criminal clans and preventing Fatah from