RAMALLAH, August 18 (JMCC) - Hamas officials have banned eight students awarded scholarships to study in the United States from traveling there, reports the
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said the eight students were granted AMIDEAST scholarships, a program that educates talented teenagers from the Middle East and North Africa for a year in the U.S. At the end of the year, students return to their home countries to finish their education. The students were granted scholarships based on their academic achievements.
In a statement, the rights group said Hamas’ education minister rejected a travel request by the teenager’s parents for “social and cultural reasons.” It also accused Hamas of breaching the parents’ right to educate their children as they choose.
Hamas would not confirm the order, much as it has in the past with similar orders travel bans on Gaza residents.
But the parents of 15-year-old Aboud Alshatari said their son was traveling to the border Wednesday when Hamas police turned him away, saying the Education Ministry refused to let him leave Gaza. Alshatari was slated to attend school in North Carolina.
UPDATE: The New York Times has a statement
from Gaza officials criticizing the participation of teenage girls in the study abroad program.