Crowd-funding to help rebuild Kerala Muslim man’s burnt studio | india | Hindustan Times
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Crowd-funding to help rebuild Kerala Muslim man’s burnt studio

A week after a man’s photo studio was burned down by alleged fundamentalists in north Kerala for what was perceived as his questioning of some of Islam’s traditions, friends and well wishers have started a crowd-funding campaign to help rebuild the studio, his only source of income.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2016 19:24 IST
HT Correspondent
On December 26, Rafeeq was rudely woken to the news that his studio had been torched by miscreants in Kannur district’s Thaliparambha.
On December 26, Rafeeq was rudely woken to the news that his studio had been torched by miscreants in Kannur district’s Thaliparambha. (HT Photo)

A week after a man’s photo studio was burned down by alleged fundamentalists in north Kerala for what was perceived as his questioning of some of Islam’s traditions, friends and well wishers have started a crowd-funding campaign to help rebuild the studio, his only source of income.

On December 26, Rafeeq was rudely woken to the news that his studio had been torched by miscreants in Kannur district’s Thaliparambha. The 32-year-old said the act was in retaliation to his questioning of some of Islam’s traditions, including the need for hijab, the veil that covers a woman’s head. Rafeeq had shared his views on a WhatsApp group that was circulated.

However, the discourse soon turned into a communal issue, with Rafeeq receiving threatening calls. “I never thought it will take such a turn. Being a democratic country, I feel everyone has a right to air his/her opinion. You can’t stifle one’s voice like this,” he said adding such bullying techniques would not deter him.

A Facebook group called ‘Freethinkers’ has now taken up Rafeeq’s case and are attempting to raise funds to help him rebuild his studio. They have so far collected around Rs 5 lakh. “I was literally on the road. Then came the good news that some people are collecting money to help me. I was really bowled over by their magnanimity,” he said, citing this would be a fitting response to those who destroyed his Rs 20 lakh-worth studio.

Now looking ahead, Rafeeq whose wife is in fact a devout Muslim, says he will continue to voice his opinions against what he sees as blind faith and customs. “Personally I believe religion should help one become a good human being. But it is sad that some religions are dictating terms for believers,” he stated.