After clerics’ warning, SHG told to cancel gender-neutral oath

Updated on Dec 05, 2022 12:12 AM IST

The Samastha Kerala Jam-iyuthul Qutba committee, an influential body of Muslims in north Kerala, has come out against the oath saying it was against Sharia (Muslim law) and the state was helping the Union government to impose the Uniform Civil Code.

A part of the pledge stating that a woman in the family should have equal property rights over her father’s property. (AP (Photo for representation))
A part of the pledge stating that a woman in the family should have equal property rights over her father’s property. (AP (Photo for representation))
By, Thiruvananthapuram

Following resistance from a group of Muslim clerics, the state social welfare ministry has directed Kudumbashree, a self-help group of women, not to go ahead with its gender-neutral oath for its volunteers.

The Samastha Kerala Jam-iyuthul Qutba committee, an influential body of Muslims in north Kerala, has come out against the oath saying it was against Sharia (Muslim law) and the state was helping the Union government to impose the Uniform Civil Code.

A part of the pledge stating that a woman in the family should have equal property rights over her father’s property has not gone down well with Samastha and it asked the Muslim members of Kudumbashree to not take the oath. The oath was prepared by the Kudumbasree Mission as part of its gender sensitivity campaign.

Samastha leader Nazr Faisi Koodathai said the pledge was against the right to religious freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution. “As per holy Quran, a man has a share of property equal to that of two women and the female member has been allowed only half of what a male member gets from father’s property,” he said, adding that in the name of gender equality, “the government was interfering with the basic tenets of religion”. He said, “Such measures will only help the Centre’s move to enforce Uniform Civil Code in the country”. Later, other Muslim outfits, including Jamat-e-Islami also backed him.

An official of the Kudumbasree Mission, on the condition of anonymity, said that they got a directive from the ministry to not go ahead with the pledge and “a corrected oath will be made available to them after some time”. “We have directed the Kudumbasree units to not go ahead with the pledge,” he said.

Slamming the state government, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said that the government surrendered to the fundamentalist forces. “Where is the renaissance movement and the human chain the government had floated in the wake of Sabarimala agitation? Thousands of pilgrims were attacked and police helped two women activists to enter the temple also. Why is the spirit missing this time?” asked party state chief K Surendran.He said the government’s move to introduce gender neutral uniform in schools was also withdrawn fearing wrath of these forces.

Koodathai and other Muslim clerics had recently courted a controversy saying “hero worship and over addiction to soccer” were against tenets of Islam. But heightened frenzy in north Malabar reflected that their warning failed to douse the soccer spirit.

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