Hamas orders school gender segregation

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Hamas-controlled parliament has passed a law requiring separate classes for boys and girls in public and private schools from the fourth grade.

Currently, boys and girls are separated in grade seven in public schools, and private schools can set their own rules.

The new law constitutes the most far-reaching attempt yet by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to impose their ultra-conservative social agenda on Gaza’s 1.7 million people. In nearly six years in power, Hamas has moved gradually, imposing some changes, such as banning women from smoking water pipes in public, but has rescinded decrees or stopped enforcing them if the public resisted.