Islamic University of Gaza

Islamic University of Gaza
Type Higher education
Established 1978
Founder Mahmoud al-Zahar
President Dr Kamalain Shaath
Administrative staff
Students 20,021[1]
Undergraduates 18,974
Postgraduates 1,047
Location Gaza, Palestine
Colors White and green

The Islamic University of Gaza (Arabic: الجامعة الإسلامية بغزة), also known as IUG, IU Gaza and The University of Gaza, is an independent Palestinian university established in 1978 in Gaza City, then within the jurisdiction of Israeli Military rule. The university, now located in Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip (de-jure State of Palestine) has ten faculties capable of awarding B.A., B.Sc., M.A., and M.Sc. diplomas and higher diplomas.[2]

The Islamic University of Gaza is a member of four regional and international associations of higher education, which are the International Association of Universities, the Community of Mediterranean Universities,[3] the Association of Arab Universities[4] and the Association of Islamic Universities.[5]

As of August 2014, due to the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Israeli forces have destroyed the Islamic University of Gaza by firing multiple missiles into the building. People were reported to be inside the university campus during the attack. A large part of the university has been destroyed. No casualties were reported in the strike.[6]

Donor institutions

Programme donor institutions include, Arab Student Aid International, United Palestinian Appeal, Islamic Relief, British Council, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Human Appeal International.

The university has accepted donations from the Middle East Children's Alliance for its rebuilding efforts.[7]


Postgraduate studies

The Islamic University of Gaza awards Master of Science and Master of Arts degree in the following areas and majors:

Fatah and Hamas fighting in the university

During fighting between Hamas and Fatah, the dominating party in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), in February 2007, Fatah militia stormed the university and confiscated weapons and ammunition that were stored in the university. Palestinian television aired footage showing dozens of rocket-propelled grenade launchers, rockets, and assault rifles, as well as thousands of bullets which had been found inside the university.[8][9]

2008 Israeli strike

Just after midnight on 28/29 December 2008 local time, the university was bombed in six air strikes by the Israeli Air Force as part of the Gaza War. An Israeli army spokeswoman told The Chronicle of Higher Education that university facilities were being used by Hamas to develop and store weapons including Qassam rockets used to target Israeli civilians. Hamas denied the Israeli allegation.[8][10] According to claims by the Israeli-based International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Hamas uses the University's laboratories to research and develop the Qassam rockets, in order to extend its range and lethality.[11]

The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict examined the incident and disputed the Israeli claims, concluding that: "the mission) also saw the destruction caused at the Islamic University and in other university buildings that were destroyed or damaged. These were civilian, educational buildings and the Mission did not find any information about their use as a military facility or their contribution to a military effort that might have made them a legitimate target in the eyes of the Israeli armed forces."[12]

Palestinian academics claim that the attack destroyed 74 labs, including, Microbiology, Hematology, Genetics, Medical Technology and Medical Chemistry Labs, Physics Labs, Environmental and Earth Sciences Labs, Biology Labs, Biotechnology Labs, Optics Labs, Chemistry Labs, Engineering Labs, and Engineering and IT buildings.[7]

In its response to the strike, the university announced in a press release on January 21, 2009 that the university is an independent institution of higher education in Gaza and the largest among the Palestinian institutions that serve 20,000 students as an accredited member of several regional and international academic associations and organization. According to the press release, the attack destroyed the Science and Engineering buildings and damaged several others. The university called upon academics, local, regional and international higher educational and human rights institutions to speak out against the attacks.[13] A number of international academic institutions have proceeded to express their commitment to support IUG as well as other universities in Gaza. The International Association of Universities, of which IUG is a member, has claimed to have written to the university to express its deep concern over the effects of the war, and to be ready to mobilize its member universities in support of the rebuilding efforts of the university. Similarly, Prof. Espen Bjertness of the University of Oslo and member of the Steering Committee of PEACE,[14] stressed that “the sad situation for all academics caused by the bombing of our member university, Islamic University, Gaza and of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program calls for appropriate action”.[15]

Relationship with Hamas

The Islamic University has close links with Hamas. It was co-founded by one of the future founders of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,[16] in 1978, and many Hamas members have taught within the university. A 2007 article about USAID funding of organisations having links to terrorism cites American, Palestinian and Israeli evidence of connections between the university and Hamas.[17] There are also clear contemporary links. For example, the new and reshuffled ministers in the Gaza cabinet announced by Hamas in March 2011 hold faculty positions at the university.[18] Nevertheless, some Palestinian academics have denied that the university is in any respect a Hamas institution. Writing for the Middle East Children's Alliance, Palestinian Academics Marcy Newman and Akram Habeeb claim that "equally important for our American colleagues is to remove the false label that IUG is a "Hamas-controlled" institution. Just as Palestinians in Gaza belong to a variety of political parties, IUG's students, board, faculty and staff represent that reality. IUG is a university like any other in Palestine that reflects the diversity of its population."[7]

Aspersions have been cast by journalist Steven Erlanger, former Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, who described the IUG as "one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause,"[9] in a 2007 article about further Israeli airstrikes on the university. However, this report was criticised by political economist Sara Roy of Harvard University, who explicitly stated that 'there can be no question that Hamas works within the framework of Islamic institutions in the Gaza Strip, and that there are certain direct links between Hamas and many of the social and economic institutions (in the strip). ... However, it is far more questionable whether an automatic and inevitable link exists between Hamas and Islamic social and economic institutions, whether those links are inherently subversive, or whether such institutions promote radicalism and violence as is commonly assumed." Roy also writes: "logic maintains, institutional clients become automatically linked to Hamas and constitute a base of support for political Islam. As a result, Islamic social institutions become recruiting centers for the Hamas's military wing. There is however, little hard evidence to support any of these allegations.[19]

In July 2008, The Hook, a magazine in Charlottesville, Virginia, reported that the University of Virginia had taken legal action against the Islamic University of Gaza for allegedly purloining the website design of the University of Virginia.[20]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Islamic University of Gaza.

These photos were taken prior to the fighting beginning in 2007.

See also


  1. About IUG
  2. "About the Islamic University of Gaza". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  3. "CMU ngo". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. "إتحاد الجامعات العربية :: عمان :: الأردن". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. "Islamic University of Gaza". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
  6. "Israel strikes university in Gaza City". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 Akram Habeeb and Marcy Newman (February 16, 2009). "Rebuilding the Islamic University of Gaza". Electronic Intifada.
  8. 1 2 "IRAN'S GAZA GOONS CAUGHT AT HELM OF BOMB FACTORY," by ANDY SOLTIS with Post Wire Services, New York Post, Feb. 3, 2007
  9. 1 2 "Gaza is hit with more Israeli airstrikes," by Steven Erlanger, New York Times, Friday, May 18, 2007
  10. Jerusalem Post, Dec 29, 2008, IAF bombs Islamic University's R&D labs, By YAAKOV KATZ
  11. Fighel, Jonathan (2009-02-01). "The Mujaheed Sheikh - Dr. Nizar Rayyan The Spiritual Mentor of Iz A-Din Al Qassam Brigades". International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Retrieved 2009-05-31.
  12. United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
  14. "P.E.A.C.E. Programme". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  15. "P.E.A.C.E. Programme". Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  16. December 29, 2008, "Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Destroy 2 University Buildings," Chronicle of Higher Education
  17. August 24, 2007, "Better Late Than Never: Keeping USAID funds out of terrorist hands", Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  18. Palestinian Embassy News, 11 March 2011
  19. Sara Roy, Failing Peace, 2007, Pluto Press: London
  20. "Copycat U: UVA fends off imitators". Retrieved 2008-08-23.

Coordinates: 31°30′47.23″N 34°26′25.64″E / 31.5131194°N 34.4404556°E / 31.5131194; 34.4404556

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