Gazan hipsters detained for their long locks and gelled quiffs
A Palestinian youth poses for a picture next to a poster after getting a stylish haircut at barber's shop in Gaza City. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS)
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The trendy young men of Gaza are facing a new threat to their independence but this time is hasn't come from neighboring Israel or even the border authorities.
Those who dare to wear their hair long, with gel in or even risk some low rise jeans are facing the consequences from the Gazan government's police force.
The crackdown is part of a wider campaign by Hamas, the conservative ruling party, to impose their ideals on young Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
Speaking to AP news agency, Ayman al-Sayed, 19, talked about his ordeal with the authorities after he was caught walking around the city with shoulder-length hair:
"I am scared. They just take you from the street without reason. I don't know what they are going to do next," he said.
Gazan officers have been taking the young hipsters and shaving their heads before returning them to the streets, in a series of organized sweeps, according to AP.
Naqib, a high school student taken away during one of the other sweeps, told AP that police were explicity trying to force youngsters to adhere to their religious views.
"They said, 'we want you to respect our tradition,'" Naqib said, adding, "They made a cross on our heads and asked us to leave and finish the shaving at a barber shop."
Hamas leaders are divided over the campaign. Deputy Prime Minister Ziad al-Zaza, reportedly admitted to the sweeps but said the head-shaving "was a very limited, isolated behavior of the police and is not going to continue."
However, Ahmed Yousef, one of the more liberal politicians in Hamas, condemned police behavior, calling it "absolutely wrong".
The great shave is one in a series of moves by Hamas to enforce a more conservative relgious stance on their populous. Last week, the ruling party annouced that all schools must be gender segregated from the age of nine and earlier this year they banned women from participating in the Gaza marathon.
What do you think about the head shaving policy? Should the government be allowed to interfere in people's personal appearance? Share your thoughts with us below.
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