Gaza hairdressers carry on snipping

At the beginning of this month, the Hamas authorities in Gazaannounced a ban on male hairdressers attending to women's hair. Three weeks later, though, they show no sign of trying to enforce it.

Five hairdressers are thought to be affected and have been seeking legal advice. A report in The National suggests Hamas announced the ban because it is under pressure from local jihadi groups to prove its Islamist credentials.

Even if Hamas is hesitant about enforcement, it also seems reluctant to stop religious militants from taking matters into their own hands. One hairdresser interviewed by The National says his shop has been attacked twice with firebombs since 2007 but the Hamas-controlled police never investigated the attacks or offered him protection.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 28 March 2010.