Islamic Witch Hunts (Palestinian Authority Area)

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62 year old shot to death by Muslims in her home and in front of her husband. She had been accused by neighbors of practicing witchcraft, a claim which was investigated by Hamas authorities

Islamic extremism in Gaza appears to be behind the Wednesday murder of a 62-year-old woman. The woman, Jabriyeh Abu Kanas, had been accused by neighbors of practicing witchcraft.

The accusations against her were reported to Hamas authorities, but were never proven. However, someone apparently decided to take the law into their own hands, gunning Kanas down at home in front of her husband.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned the murder in an interview with Palestinian Authority media. The Center blamed the attack on “security chaos”.

Hamas has imposed several restrictions on Gaza residents aimed at increasing observance of its strict interpretation of Islamic law. The terrorist group recently barred women from smoking in public, and said that women's clothing stores may not have dressing rooms and must dress their mannequins modestly.

Hamas leaders have also brought back the death penalty for offenses such as drug use. In many Islamic countries, witchcraft is punishable by death as well.

Hamas is not the only group seeking to enforce Islam in Gaza. In recent years it has been challenged by Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), a group whose former leader, Abu Mustafa, accused Hamas of being “Islamic-lite.”

Army of Islam members and recruits to other Salafi Muslim groups have carried out a series of attacks in Gaza, targeting music stores, Internet cafes, summer camps at which boys and girls are allowed to mingle, and pharmacies accused of selling drugs that can be used for recreational purposes.

Salafi group Jund Ansar Allah has openly battled Hamas, as has the pan-Islamic group Hizb Ut-Tahrir. Both organizations support the establishment of a global Islamic Caliphate, and have accused Hamas of failing to sufficiently enforce Islamic law.
62-Year-Old Gaza Woman Murdered for 'Witchcraft'
Maayana Miskin, Arutz Sheva, August 19, 2010

150 women arrested in 2010 in Gaza for witchcraft of some sort. One of the Palestinian awareness campaigns against "witches" was launched by displaying large posters in mosques, universities and public offices

Hamas leaders are committed to a systematic "witch hunt" and 150 women were arrested in 2010 in Gaza for having made recourse to witchcraft of some sort. During a symposium held in recent days in Gaza, it was stated that in the eyes of Hamas, the activities of these women represent a real social danger, also because they risk "breaking up families," causing divorce and frittering away of money. Sometimes their activities also have criminal repercussions. One awareness campaign against "the witches" was launched using large posters in mosques, universities and public offices frequented by women. The issue emerged again in August last year when a 62-year-old woman, Jabryieh Abu Ghanas, considered to be active in the field of "witchcraft" and the production of "voodoo dolls", was shot dead in a street in the centre of Gaza. This murder caused great alarm in the Palestinian human rights defence organisations al-Mezan and Pchr-Gaza. It seems however that for now Hamas are not using an iron hand in regard to the women suspected of witchcraft. They are forced to sign an undertaking to abandon their practices, consider incompatible with Islam, for good. It seems this measure has been sufficient and to date there is no news of any "witch" being imprisoned by Hamas.