Mumbai – Terming Burqas and Hijabs as regressive and patriarchal, the reformist Muslim organisation Muslim Satyashodhak Mandal (MSM) has said that several educated women and girls were forced to wear them due to conditioning and pressure from the family and community.
Reacting to the controversy over educational institutions in Karnataka denying entry to Hijab-clad students and these girls being heckled by some workers, the MSM has noted that education and awareness were the only ways to overcome regressive traditions. Virulent opposition by the Hindutva forces and counter-mobilisation by Muslim orthodoxy and a section of the Left, will strengthen the practice rather than help Muslims overcome it.
Shamshuddin Tamboli, President of the MSM, said that these head and body coverings represented patriarchy and that no religious motifs and practices must be allowed in schools and educational institutions, which must be maintained as secular spaces. The Mandal says that Hijabs and Burqas are not integral to the practice of Islam.
Tamboli warned against an upsurge of identity-based politics. He said that schools, which were meant to represent values of equality, scientific temper and secularism, be maintained as secular spaces, where no Hijabs, Burqas or even celebrations of religious festivals and rites like Ganeshotsav and Saraswati Pujan were observed.
“The times have changed and we should change our mindset accordingly. Religion should not be a roadblock in development”, he urged.