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Palestinian women mourn during the funeral of Islamic Jihad militants Mohammed Shabat and Ismail Abu Odeh in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) Palestinian women mourn during the funeral of Islamic Jihad militants Mohammed Shabat and Ismail Abu Odeh in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)  

Gaza university will enforce Islamic dress code for female students

The Palestinian Authority rebuked a university in Gaza that wants to institute an Islamic dress code for female students.

Starting next semester, Al-Aqsa University will require female students to dress in a more modest fashion in line with Islamic teaching. Students will not be forced to wear full-length coats or cover their faces entirely, but they must wear the hijab — the veil that partly covers the head. The university won’t expel students for violating the dress code, but will instruct staff to lecture students on the importance of following the dress code.

The goal is to avoid arousing the sexual desires of male students, according to the university.

The decision drew the ire of the Palestinian Authority, which said that Al-Aqsa lacked the authority to compel students to dress in Islamic attire.

Ali Jarbawi, Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education, called the dress code “illegal, and therefore null and unenforceable.”

At least one student said she would not have decided to attend Al-Aqsa if she knew the university would move toward an Islamic dress code.

“If I had known before that the university would impose Islamic dress, I would not have registered here in the beginning,” said an anonymous third-year student in a statement to Ma’an News Agency.

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