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Wear a veil or we'll behead you . . .

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    Wear a veil or we ll behead you . . . [NZ Herald 5 Jun 07] JERUSALEM—Women working in Palestinian television in Gaza have been told to avoid walking alone in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2007
      Wear a veil or we'll behead you . . . [NZ Herald 5 Jun 07]

      JERUSALEM—Women working in Palestinian television in Gaza have been told to avoid walking alone in the street after radical Islamists threatened to behead them ff they did not dress in religious garb while on air.

      The threat from the extremist fringe group The Righteous Swords of Islam is being taken seriously by female journalists. Anti-vice vigilantes have bombed Internet cafes, music shops, pool halls, a restaurant and a Christian bookstore in recent weeks.

      The group warned that it would strike the women with "an iron fist and swords" for refusing to wear a veil on camera.

      "It is disgraceful that the women working for the official Palestinian media are competing with each other to display their charms," it said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza. "We will destroy their homes. We will blow up their work places. If necessary, we will behead and slaughter to preserve the spirit and morals of our people."

      Lana Shaheen, 35, the head of English programming at Palestine TV in Gaza, does not wear a headscarf.

      "Yesterday I was just sitting down and thinking, if I died, who is going to take care of my two kids?" said Shaheen, who is also an on-air correspondent for a Jordanian TV network.

      While many of the network's 15 or so female presenters already cover their heads, their Western clothing and makeup do not conform to strictest interpretations of the Koran.

      Radwan Abu Ayyash, the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Culture, condemned the threat as coming from criminals who did notiunderstand Islam. But he said that extra precautions would have to be taken such as escorted cars and more bodyguards.

      The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation has posted extra security guards outside its offices in Ramallah and Gaza City.

      Bassam Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, accused the radicals of behaving like the Taleban in Afghanistan.

      "Gaza has become Hamasistan. They are trying to drag Palestinian society back to the dark ages."

      —TELEGRAPH GROUP LTD, INDEPENDENT


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