Gaza, Oct 8: Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip reasoned that not Islamic religious value but safety concerns and social traditions were the reasons behind banning women from riding motorbikes and scooters.
The Interior Ministry said it was banning women from riding two-wheelers or being pillion passengers, to limit accidents and to 'protect community values'.
Spokesman Ehab Al-Ghsain said the decision was taken as women riding behind their husbands or male relatives were a prime reason for accidents in recent weeks.
"We have taken a series of decisions to limit accidents and avoid loss of lives. Men carrying women behind them on motorcycles caused accidents and did not match our social traditions," he said. "The image looked odd."
Human Rights groups, however, felt that Hamas is gradually imposing a strict Islamic code on the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza.
Gaza couples complained of being stopped by police and asked for papers to prove they are married, and men were asked to cover up on the beach.