'Don’t let hijab row affect education of Muslim girls'

Former MP and president of the Maulana Azad Vichar Manch, Husain Dalwai has warned Muslims not to fall prey to this religious fanatics' trap and stop education of Muslim girls

'Don’t let hijab row affect education of Muslim girls'

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

Muslims should understand that the hijab controversy has been created by religious fundamentalists intentionally to thwart the growth of Muslim girls in the educational sector.

Former MP and president of the Maulana Azad Vichar Manch Husain Dalwai has warned Muslims not to fall prey to this religious fanatics' trap and stop education of Muslim girls.

Some religious fundamentalists from both communities are intentionally orchestrating communal issues against Muslims and the latest game is the hijab. Why should an issue from one college in Karnataka have gained momentum throughout the country? This has now led to the reinforcement of the division in society between Hindus and Muslims.

Dalwai, always a sane and progressive Muslim voice in the country, considers the hijab a superficially religious issue which has gained unnecessary traction. "I strongly believe that this is a devious design by a certain section of Hindu bigots. The Muslims should understand that it is to keep them embroiled in unnecessary issues instead of focussing on their core concerns that such issues are fanned.”

Dalwai firmly believes it is unfortunate that other people are now deciding how women should dress or what they should eat. "It is very important to understand that no one should decide in the country what education should be given to any group or the dress code for schools and colleges.”

“An issue that cropped up in just one school in Karnataka was taken across the country by Muslims. It is given undue importance by Muslims. There are educated Muslims in India whose daughters are studying abroad minus the hijab. However, these educated and modern Muslims are not coming forward. They should tell other Muslims not to stop the education of their daughters for the sake of futile gains,” he added.

The Muslims’ progress depends on a high standard of education for girls as well as boys. The organised protest by Muslim women on the hijab controversy in Karnataka has taken the Centre back and brought forth another round of aggression against the community.

Dalwai said, “The education of Muslim students should not be stopped at any cost. This should be ensured by Muslim Ulemas, academicians, intellectuals, educational institutions, non-governmental organisations. The community should not forget the great scholar Fatima Shaikh, the second woman teacher in the country,went through all kinds of troubles to seek education. She, along with Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule are the true social reformers in the progress of girls in the country,” he added.

Dalwai also accused right-wing Hindu groups of creating hatred against Muslims through films like Kashmir Files. “They are distorting history through such films with a pure anti-Muslim agenda."

However, there is a pushback from secular Hindus, and Pandits from Kashmir are coming forward to protest the false narrative created through the film. They are standing in support of Muslims, he added.

“The country is governed by the Indian Constitution. Every individual has the right to practise his or her religion. It promises freedom of speech and action. Unfortunately, some religious fundamentalists on both sides are deliberately orchestrating communal hatred, pitting Hindus against Muslims. "Every time they bring in some new context. The latest is the hijab and The Kashmir Files,” he added.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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