Gaza’s Male Hairdressers Banned from Cutting Women’s Hair

In Gaza, cutting women’s hair has become an issue for male hairdressers. Currently, there are only 5 to 6 male hairdressers in Gaza that cut women’s hair due to the threats they receive and the changes in Hamas policy that bands men from cutting women’s hair. Some believe that these policies were created to appease extremists that see Gaza as being too liberal, but others believe that it is simply complying with tradition.

One women in her 20s even stated: “It’s about Islam and our traditions. Men don’t cut women’s hair. It’s normal here.”

But others, like Hatem al-Ghoul whose livelihood is dependent on cutting hair, see things differently. “If they come and shut me down, I will just be left to sit at home and watch TV like all the other unemployed people with no life.” Al-Ghoul’s also says that his shop has been the target of two attacks: “They came twice in the middle of the night and blew up my salon with small bombs, once in 2007 and once in 2008.”

Yet when the spokesperson for the Hamas interior ministry was questioned about the matter, he was very reluctant to give any details. However he did say: “The Western media is obsessed with stories like this. This is not a big deal here. It’s a social thing. It’s tradition.”

-Hatem al-Ghoul

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