Muslim activists on Thursday criticised the “gender jihad” propagated by the fatwas issued by Muslim clerics especially the recent one forbidding women from taking up employment.
“These fatwas are not legally binding yet they have a huge impact on a large section of the economically-backward Muslim population in the city,” said Farukh Waris, vice-principal of Burhani College at a press conference organised by Aawaaz-E-Niswaan (Voices of Women), an organisation working for the empowerment of Muslim women.
Waris explained how such fatwas are often exploited by patriarchs to “keep their wives in check”. Sharing an example of women affected by the fatwas, she said a lecturer at Mumbai university had to resign because her fiancé refused to let her disobey it.
“She had to abandon her PhD dissertation. These senseless fatwas shackle women, denying them the life and success they’re entitled to,” she added.
“Such fatwas affect the economically needy women, widows or those who are the breadwinners in their homes,” said Farida Lambay, vice president of Nirmala Niketan and a member of the Maharashtra study group for the implementation of the Sachar
Committee report, which looked at socio-economic backwardness of Muslims in India.
Javed Anand, co-editor of Communalism Combat, said that a “gender jihad” was going on in the Muslim world.
“It’s shameful that women in countries that have declared themselves staunchly Islamic states enjoy more rights than those in India today,” he said.
The aim of Aawaaz-e-Niswaan is to create awareness and empower its women.
“We urge Muslims and non-Muslims to be part of this movement and fight the fatwa-factory,” said Anand.