Loading
Holy Land Franciscans lament ban on co-ed schools in Gaza

.- A law in the Gaza Strip segregating classrooms by sex threatens the existence of Christian schools in the territory, according to the head of a Franciscan group that supports Christians in the Holy Land.

In April, the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian territory on Israel's western border passed a law banning co-education for children above the age of nine. It also ensures that teachers and other staff are of the same sex as students.

“The goal is not integration but co-existence … and this recent ruling does not make that easy,” Father Peter Vasko, president of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, said of the relations between Muslims and Christians in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has been ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas since 2007. Of the territory's population of nearly 1.7 million, only 3,000 are Christians.

The ban on co-ed classrooms, due to take effect in September, will primarily affect Christian schools in the area. Most public schools, as well as those operated by the United Nations, are already sex-segregated according to Al Jazeera.

The law effectively threatens Christian schools in Gaza because of the prohibitive costs they will have to incur to provide for a substantial expansion in the number of classrooms and teachers.

“Having to close schools that are there for the very reason not only to educate but to encourage peace and cooperation among the various groups is very counterproductive,” Fr. Vasko said in a July 18 statement.

The statement added that the new law is “yet another threat to Christians in the Holy Land already under extreme pressure by both Israeli and Palestinian rule.”

Fr. Vasko said the co-existence of Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip means “we have to learn that each has their own identity but at the same time building positive relations together” and that “closing any Christian schools in the area would be a serious loss.”

Christians run five schools in the Gaza Strip, three of which are Catholic. Most of the students in the schools are Muslim.

The Patriarchate of Jerusalem educates more than 1,000 Gazan children in their two schools in the territory, and the Rosary Sisters run another Catholic school in Gaza.

“We don't have the space and we don't have the money to divide our schools,” Fr. Faysal Hijazin, education director for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told the Catholic Herald last month.

“This will be a big problem.”

Tags: Church in Holy Land, Religious discrimination


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
20

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Gospel
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Homily
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: