Palestine: Extremist group tells women in television: 'Wear a veil or we will behead you'
The fringe group threatened to "slaughter" the women for corrupting Palestinian morals. "The management and workers at Palestine TV should know," it warned, "that we are much closer to them than they think. If necessary, we will behead and slaughter to preserve the spirit and morals of our people."
About half the women TV journalists wear the traditional hijab head covering, but all show their faces and wear makeup. They mounted a vigil yesterday outside the Gaza City office of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, demanding protection and respect.
Lana Shaheen, who heads the station's English-language programmes, told The Independent: "Of course we are afraid. Previously this group threatened Internet cafes and video shops, then burned them. We will protect ourselves."
She insisted the women would continue working. "We will not change... our lives. We've worked through Israeli bombardments and attacks, just like the men. It's a national obligation."
Mohammed al-Dahoudi, the director-general of Palestine TV, said they were taking the threats seriously. "In the current security chaos, everything can happen in Gaza. There is incitement from some groups against television. We will continue to work as usual, but we will take precautions. We have to be careful."
He recalled previous attacks by Muslim radicals on local offices of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV; another station, Voice of the Workers; and Palestine TV's own branch in Khan Yunis. In recent weeks, militants campaigning against Western influence have also vandalised an American school and a Christian bookshop. Bassam Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, accused the radicals of behaving like the Taliban in Afghanistan. "Gaza has become Hamasistan. They are trying to drag Palestinian society back to the dark ages."
As the prospect of peace recedes and poverty spreads, Palestinians have become more traditional. Bars and cinemas have closed. Many educated, middle-class women now cover their heads, but hardly anyone, even in the villages, wears the niqab veil.
By: Eric Silver
04 June 2007
- Making Law and Justice Work for Women
- It is too simple to reduce religious motives to mere pretexts for violence – New report
- Afghanistan: Prominent female politician and 'brave voice' Angeza Shinwari dies after car bomb attack
- Palestine: In Memoriam: Maha Abu-Dayyeh
- Nigeria: Why it is hard to know the truth about the Boko Haram crisis
- Call for Iraqi Women Victimized by ISIS
- 'Stop the extreme group of monks called Bodu Bala Sena who ignites the religious hatred, enmity and violent oppressions in Srilanka
- NIGERIA: Bring back the abducted school girls of Chibok
- Urgent Action: Zahra and Ali in Imminent Danger of Stoning!
- Declaration of the Senegalese Feminist Forum statement during the Reflection on the Malian Crisis Meeting
- Dossier 30-31: The Struggle for Secularism in Europe and North America
- Walking a Tightrope: Women and Veiling in the United Kingdom
- Towards a Future without Fundamentalisms
- Feminists on the Frontline: AWID Case Studies of Resisting Fundamentalisms
- FES publication on Religious Fundamentalisms in Asia