Catholic Students Resist Dress Code

Christian girls in the Gaza Strip are under pressure to wear Islamic dress in public schools. An unofficial dress code mainly for high school girls calls for them to wear the full “jilbab,” which is a long traditional robe, and a headscarf, said the Rev. Jorge Hernández of Holy Family Parish in Gaza. “For most of the schools it is an absolute condition for admittance,” Father Hernández said. Most Christian children in Gaza attend church-run schools, but there is a tiny minority of Christian students in the government-run schools. At the start of the school year, rumors circulated in Gaza that the Hamas-run Ministry of Education would impose a dress code. In mid-September the ministry said it had not officially authorized the policy. According to one Christian girl, her teacher tried to convince girls to wear the jilbab by quoting verses from the Koran saying that it is the best way for a woman to dress, but most of the Christian girls refused to acquiesce.

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