Hamas introduces Islamist practices in Gaza administration

Hamas shaves year off inmates' sentences for memorizing Koran:

Inmates in the Gaza Strip's main prison can now reduce their sentences by one year if they memorize five chapters from the Koran, Islam's holy book, the prison's governor announced Monday.

The prison, controlled by the militant Hamas movement since the group's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, holds 350 prisoners, 30 of whom are on death row.

The new scripture program seeks to encourage prisoners to behave according to the Koran's law, prison governor Col. Abu al-Abed Hamid, said in a statement.

Most of the inmates were sentenced before Hamas took power, for crimes ranging from murder to corruption to collaborating with Israel.

The traditionally male-dominated Hamas also announced its intention to add 100 female officers to the Gaza police force. They would supervise women prisoners and help in police actions when women must sometimes be present to search other women, said Gen. Tawfiq Jaber, the acting police chief.
Hamas, in the middle of the biggest crisis to hit the Palestinian national movement, has its priorities straight. Note also the introduction of segregation of police forces (i.e. policewomen introduced to handle female suspects). Hamas is ruling Gaza as if it intends to stay for the long term. Admittedly, one might argue it has the right to govern as it sees fit since it won the last election. But it's not too early to ask, when will the next elections take place?
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.