‘Next, the Shiv Sena may want to ban namaaz’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Next, the Shiv Sena may want to ban namaaz’

Members from the Muslim community have strongly condemned an editorial in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamna, which called for a ban on the burqa on Tuesday. Most Muslim leaders dismissed the issue as just another of the Sena’s attempts to get attention.

mumbai Updated: Oct 20, 2010 00:57 IST
Aarefa Johari

Members from the Muslim community have strongly condemned an editorial in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamna, which called for a ban on the burqa on Tuesday. Most Muslim leaders dismissed the issue as just another of the Sena’s attempts to get attention.

“The Sena likes to agitate about non-issues, and right now they are constantly on the lookout for new issues as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is giving it tough competition,” said Maulana Sayed Athar Ali, president of the All India Ulema Association, adding that wearing a burqa has been part of the Indian culture for centuries, not just among Muslims.

According to Ali, it is not worth reacting to the Sena’s stance. “We are going to ignore them because we know there is no longer any strength to their voice,” said Ali.

Women’s organisations such as the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) will discuss the issue in their meeting and are planning to call a press conference in response.

“As per our religion, even Muslims cannot force women to wear or not to wear the burqa. Who are Shiv Sainiks to call for a ban?” said Khatoon Sheikh, BMMA’s Maharashtra convener. “Earlier they had objected to the use of loudspeakers in mosques for the azaan. Next, they may want to ban namaaz.”

Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali emphasised that nobody in a liberal, multi-cultural democracy has a right to dictate terms to women about what they wear.

“India is now looking forward to a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, to new programmes in education, and to the economic welfare of society. These are issues far more important, which need to be spoken about,” said Shaukat Ali, who believes that to prevent crimes such as baby kidnapping, political parties should focus on escalating security.