Fashion show in Christian village outrages Muslims
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Hamas figure calls event ‘immoral,’ denounces PA for sponsorship and attendance.
A fashion show for Palestinian girls held this week in the Christian town of
Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority has
drawn strong condemnations from Hamas and other Palestinian
Sheikh Hamed Bittawi, a top Hamas political figure in the West
Bank, condemned the show as “immoral” and said it violated Islamic values and
Bittawi called it “unsuitable for a people that lives under
occupation, has 12,000 prisoners [in Israeli prisons] and has sacrificed tens of
thousands of people,” and ruled that such events were considered by Islam to be
a fahisha, or major sin.
He also condemned the PA government for allowing
the event to take place and for sponsoring it.
The PA was represented at
fashion show, which was part of a graduation ceremony for fashion designers, by
Tourism Minister Kholoud Daibes. The event was also attended by Majeda al-
Masri, minister for social welfare, and Bethlehem Mayor Victor
Several other Hamas officials launched a scathing attack on PA
President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for supporting the
fashion show, and accused them of spreading “moral corruption” in the West
A Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip noted that the show coincided
with the Jerusalem Municipality’s decision to demolish more than 20 Arab-owned
houses in the city’s Silwan section.
Late last year, the PA called off a
Miss Palestine beauty contest that was supposed to be held in Ramallah following
strong protests from Hamas and many Palestinians. About 60 young women were
supposed to participate in the contest, half of them Israeli Arabs.
women who appeared in the Beit Sahour fashion show did not wear swim suits or
bikinis, but that did not prevent Hamas and many Palestinian groups and
individuals from condemning the event as “morally corrupt.” Palestinian Web
sites have since been flooded with talkbacks denouncing the show and attacking
both the PA and the Bethlehem- area Christian community for holding
“Wherever there are Christians there’s moral decline,” charged a
reader from the Gaza Strip on one of the sites.
“Were it not for the
presence of Muslims in Palestine, Palestine would have become like Paris
Another reader from the Gaza Strip complained: “Shame on
you Muslims and Christians in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip we are
sacrificing our best men [against Israel] while your daughters are
such a disgraceful manner.”
Writing in defense of the controversial show,
a man who identified himself as Mohammed from Nablus barked at the
the Gaza Strip: “We forgot about the intifada and the martyrs. We left
the people of the Gaza Strip; to hell with you and your intifada!”