Hamas takes over UN youth camps, offer Islamic indoctrination and sports

Special to WorldTribune.com

GAZA CITY — Hamas has replaced the United Nations in caring for
hundreds of thousands of youngsters in summer camps in 2012.

Hamas launched its summer camps on June 9 with 70,000 students
throughout the Gaza Strip.

Children learn to handle weapons at a Hamas summer camp in 2011. /Khaled Abu Toameh via FB

Officials said Hamas intends to provide expanded services in wake of a decision by the UN Relief and Works Agency to cancel summer camps because of a funding shortfall.

“These camps will strengthen national sovereignty and the development of Islamic morality,” Hamas spokesman Hassan Salameh said.

Officials said the camps would include Islamic indoctrination as well as arts, culture and sports. They said the Islamic regime would use volunteers and staffers to care for campers from age seven through 16.

The UN agency had enrolled up to 250,000 campers in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA summer camps have marked a major source of friction with Hamas, which opposed the more secular approach of the world body.

“We can only collect $3 million, and we need $10 million to pay for the
camps,” UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said.

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