Hamas Law Threatens Christian Schools in Gaza

Palestinian girls from UNRWA schools play at a summer camp organised by UNRWA in Gaza City on 17 June 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed Abed)

By: Orouba Othman

Published Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gaza – A new law passed by the Hamas government in Gaza banning co-ed schools has left many Christians fearful that their schools are in danger of closure.

The new law, which mandates gender segregation in all schools, also bans men from teaching at girls’ schools. The law will likely force Christian educational institutions to close their doors to Muslim and Christian students alike.

Samer Badra, financial director of the Patriarchate Schools in Palestine, told Al-Akhbar, “Implementing the new education law will force Gaza’s Christian institutions to build new facilities and hire new employees to comply with the articles. That is something that the modest budget of our church-affiliated non-profit educational institutions can not afford.”

Badra stressed that the idea of gender segregation goes against the Patriarchate’s mission to teach students to co-exist and respect the opposite sex.

Badra goes on to mention that the law will have dire consequences for freedom of belief, “straining the relationship between Muslims and Christians, which was not tarnished in any way after the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.”

Senior Christian clergy are set to meet with Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the deposed government, to reach a solution satisfactory to both parties.

Badra, along with the education ministry, denied the report from Israel Today that alleged Hamas’ education ministry had banned Muslim students from attending Christian schools in Gaza.

Mutassim Minawi, director of public relations at the ministry, said, “What the Israeli newspaper reported is baseless – nothing but pure fabrications and an attempt to create discord between Muslims and Christians.”

As for Christian concerns over the implementation of the new law, he explained: “The ministry did not intend to harm them. We are only an administrative arm that has to abide by the law passed by the Legislative Council.”

He pointed out that education minister Osama al-Muzaini “is not going to implement the law in one swoop and it will not be imposed by force.”

Minawi argued that “the Gaza Strip’s culture is conservative and does not favor gender mixing. The majority of Palestinians in Gaza praised the law and only leftist parties criticized it.”

Samir Zaqout, an activist at the Mezan Center For Human Rights, argued that the law is a violation of parents’ freedom to choose the quality of their children’s education.

“It won’t be clear how the issue of gender segregation will play out until the new semester begins. If the government insists on implementing it, all private schools will close down, whether Christian or otherwise,” he said.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

These sick religious animals need to learn that they cannot control people's lives

It is not true that the majority of Palestinians in Gaza are in praise of the law and only leftist parties criticized it. That is an outright lie. Throughout Europe, North and South America and most parts of Africa you have open schools attended by both genders. The ruling bigots of Palestine such as Hamas seek separation. Vote them out of office next election.

What does a charlatan like you have to do with Palestine, go back to supporting the mukhabarati Ethiopian regime.

Only a Hamas bigot like you would make such a derogatory comment against Palestinian freedom. Abu Umar is a bigot, and deprived of schooling knowledge Thank you.

Thats rich coming from a charlatan who supports the mukhabarati Ethiopian regime, go spend some time in the dungeons of the Ethiopian regime and than come talk about freedom.

It has nothing to do with fundamental middle ages religion barbarity .
It Is because of the occupation, stupid.
If a religious leader says the world Is flat, then It Is so.

Sure, occupation has nothing to do with life in Palestine, including politics. Living under 24/7 Zionist bombs has nothing to do with politics in Gaza.And USA and Zionists are major enables of religious obscurantism in the ME. As if it was not USA which made Al-Qaida. As if Zionists are not pals of Saudis and other "secularists" and not hated Nasser. And "secular" Zionists could say what they want, but without Zionist rabbis they have not even the sham pretext for their aparteid state colony on Palestinian land and not enough cannon fodder and "Jews" for their racist colony. Because of it Zionists still do not even have separation of state and synagoga - the very definition of "Jew" in Israel is based of religious Halaha, and being Jew or non-Jew is the base of the aparteid Zionist colony,

Yigal(ahmuq), are you going to call on your Haredi and religious settlers to adhere to this too, and why are many right-wing secular Zionists hypocritical in this regard, not calling for secularism amongst their religious kin, while calling on this for Muslims?

Abu ahmuq,( try and keep It civil),You don't log on other sites where I clearly state my opinion on organized religion so don't make the mistake of fools- when one "assumes"Is when one Is mistaken.
Otherwise my Internet co poster, anything with substance to add to the topic above?

I wasn't referring to you personally, but the large number of Jewish atheists and secularists who believe that they have a divine right to Palestine and who don't preach secularism amongst their religious kin with the same vehemence that they demand of Muslims precisely to safeguard the Jewish national interests, much like the Jewish Neocons hypocritically called for democracy , in the mould of King "Khussein" of Jordan, while the Israeli government was backing banana republics and training their mukhabarat, where were the Neocons and their concern with "democracy"?!

Try and keep it civil when your ilk expel my people from their homeland and raze my grandfather's village and the Jews are outraged to this day that the Palestinians didn't disappear and are still longing for their homeland, a reality which will come true in the coming years because of the Palestinian demographic tsunami. The American Whites with all their power, triumphalism, Manifest Destiny, etc. couldn't contain the Hispanic reconquista which is re-conquering the American Southwest and you can read the lamentations of shabbos goy and court historian for the Jewish Neocons, Victor Hanson, in his pathetic Mexifornia, so what makes you think you Jews can hold on to Palestine. Ben Gurion lamented in his time, not expelling all of the Palestinians.

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