GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A university in the Gaza Strip announced this week that female students must abide by an "Islamic" dress code, causing uproar from Palestinian groups and students themselves.
Al-Aqsa University in Gaza City will implement the dress regulations when the new semester begins.
University president Salam al-Agha clarified to Ma'an that the code does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he termed dress befitting of the university.
He said students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code.
Female students at the university expressed outrage at the decision.
One third-year student told Ma'an: "If I had known before that the university would impose Islamic dress, I would not have registered here in the beginning."
The woman, who declined to be named, said she does wear "Islamic" dress, but would not do so at anyone's order.
Meanwhile, the PLO denounced the decision, and said that it has dangerous social and political implications for Palestinian society.
The university president said the code would be implemented by persuasion, and staff would give lectures on appropriate dress, including loose clothes, long jackets, and wide trousers.
He said 97 percent of female students already dress appropriately, but the dress code was implemented to ensure all students dress properly to avoid attracting male desire.