Hamas officials are publically debating over a proposed penal code that would apply Islamic law to Gaza citizens. The new regulations would criminalize offenses that had previously not been offenses. It would also institutionalize floggings and hand amputations as punishments. Hamas officials are divided on whether it should be imposed on Gazans now, or only after the conclusion of “national liberation,” a euphemism for the destruction of Israel:
The presidency of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza has released the draft penal code to civil-society organizations, Palestinian factions and Islamic scholars for discussion prior to its ratification by council members, who all belong to the Hamas movement in Gaza.
Hamas representative to the Legislative Council Yahya Moussa rejected the recently distributed draft law and affirmed that the Legislative Council had twice rejected the proposed formula due to its inclusion of Islamic forms of punishment. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Moussa said, “We are currently in the national liberation stage. We are not a state and cannot impose Islamic forms of punishment. The priority rests elsewhere, despite our urgent need to amend and discuss the law, but not in its current form.”
Nonetheless Gaza police periodically launch campaigns to enforce Islamic norms. The Telegraph recently cited such campaigns to conclude that Gaza City “is gripped with fear that Hamas is driving the population towards militant Islamic fundamentalism.”
Hamas officials in Gaza recently hosted virulently anti-Semitic Qatari preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi’s visit was marked by celebrations and calls for the destruction of Israel.
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