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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Male hairdressers banned from women's salons in Gaza

A Gaza hair salon
Hamas have been gradually tightening restrictions enforcing Islamic codes

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has said it is to ban male hairdressers from working in salons where women get their hair styled.

The announcement is part of a campaign by Hamas to introduce more Islamic customs to the Gaza Strip.

The Interior Ministry have said there will be legal consequences for anyone who disobeys the new rule, but they have not specified what they might be.

In Islamic tradition women cannot show their hair to men not in their family.

Since the Islamist movement took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, they have introduced a number of rules that move toward tightening customary Islamic restrictions on the way men and women interact.

But they have been patchily enforced and are not statutory laws.

Pressure

These include banning women's underwear from display, demands that men dress modestly when swimming in the sea and that girls wear long dresses for school.

The BBC's Jon Donnison in the Gaza Strip reports that human rights groups there are complaining that people's freedom is being restricted.

Hamas is coming under internal pressure to show their commitment to Islamic customs, it has been reported.



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