A Muslim extremist group threatened to behead female TV broadcasters if they don't don strict Islamic dress, leaving the women terrified and marking a further downward spiral in Gaza's anarchy.
The threat to "cut throats from vein to vein" was delivered by the Swords of Truth, a fanatical group that has previously claimed responsibility for bombing Internet cafes and music shops.
The new threat was the first time the organization targeted a specific group of people, and adds to a growing climate of extremism, fear and suspicion in Gaza.
In many parts of the Muslim world, religious conservative policies keep women out of TV anchoring positions or only let them take the jobs if they wear headscarves. But in some countries scarves are uncommon, like Lebanon and Jordan, and Egypt even keeps newscasters who wear them off its TV stations.
Most of the 15 women broadcasters on government-run Palestine TV wear headscarves. But they also wear makeup and Western clothing, which is not considered strictly observant by the extremists.
The Swords of Truth issued the statement Friday in an e-mail sent to news organizations. "We will cut throats, and from vein to vein, if needed to protect the spirit and moral of this nation."
The group accused the broadcasters of being "without any...shame or morals" and said it knew where to find the women.
Prior to the statement, some women broadcasters said they had received personal threats through their mobile phones. It was not clear if those threats were from the same group.
I just want to savor that quote again: "We will cut throats, and from vein to vein, if needed to protect the spirit and morals of this nation."
Isn't it wonderful that they take their morality so seriously?