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'Sena should not lecture Muslims about the burqa'

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 10:40 IST

Shiv Sena should mind its own business, say Muslims

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N Ganesh in Mumbai
The Shiv Sena's call for a ban on burqa had led to outrage among the Muslim community.  N Ganesh finds out how the community has reacted to this demand.
 
"In India, every individual has the right to practise their religion. It is not correct for a person who is not from the community to interfere in matters of Shariat," said Maulana Moin Miya Ashraf, secretary of the Jamia Qadriya Islamia.

"This is an irresponsible statement. The Shiv Sena is turning towards communal issues as its linguistic agenda has been hijacked by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. In Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari is flummoxed and here the Sena leadership is fishing for new issues to sustain the party," said Sayyad Ayub, a Congress worker.

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Image: Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray's newspaper Saamna, in an editorial, had called for a ban on burqas
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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'Doing away with burqa is not possible'

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Muslims are willing to cooperate with security agencies over security concerns but doing away with the burqa is not possible," said Najib Mulla, a civic leader from Thane.

"The burqa is a requirement as laid down in the tenets of Shariat as pronounced by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). As it will be inappropriate for Muslims to comment on Hindu religious practices, the same will also apply for interference in Muslim religious practices. As far as the security issue is concerned it should be tightened," said Maulana Fariduzzama, a cleric.


Photographs: Reuters
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'This controversy will only lead to disharmony'

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The burqa is not typical only among Muslims. Hindu women, particularly those from the north Indian states, also cover their faces with a veil. The burqa is a religious mandate as per the Shariat and it will be difficult for the Muslims to make allowances with respect to the burqa. As far as the burqa being a security hazard is concerned, none of the 10 terrorists that attacked Mumbai were wearing burqas. This controversy will only lead to further communal disharmony," said advocate S G Abbas Kazmi, lawyer for 26/11 accused Ajmal Kasab and recent participant in the television reality show Big Boss.

"Sena chief Bal Thackeray has the freedom to express his views. In the last 25 years there have been several proactive statements from him. With his latest stand on burqa, we are speechless. As far as he is concerned, might is right," said Maulana Shoaib Koti, vice president of the Qaumi Majilis-e-Shura.


Image: Advocate S G Abbas Kazmi, who represented Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 case

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'The MNS has hijacked the Sena's issues'

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If there is obscenity on TV, it is prudent to switch off the channel and not break the TV. Covering the face is not just a Muslim religious mandate, it is also part of Indian culture. As the MNS has hijacked their issues, the Shiv Sena has been left with empty hands," said Maulana Athar Ali, executive member of the Muslim Personal Law Board.

"Interference in another religion is not appropriate. As far security issues are concerned, no Muslim should object to their face being seen by security personnel. One has to learn to live with heightened security," said Hanif Pitalwala, principal of Holy Crescent school in Mumbra.


Image: A Muslim woman shows her ink-marked finger after voting
Photographs: K K Arora/Reuters
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