Shaheen Bagh protest and resistance against ban on Hijab in Karnataka show Muslim women’s potential: JIH National Secretary Rahamathunnisa

February 29, 2024

PATNA: The National Secretary Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (Women’s Department) Mrs Rahamathunnisa expressed confidence in Muslim girls and women saying they have immense abilities and this was demonstrated by them during the Shaheen Bagh protest movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019-20 and a resistance movement against the ban on Hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka.

In an interview with Bihar Lok Samvad YouTube channel in Patna, she said that this was an inherent part of their religious and cultural identity because of the Quranic message which says that wherever you are, you have to stand up and work for all human beings, without any discrimination, as a carrier of goodness. She was on Pana to attend a two-day conference on February 24 & 25 hosted by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Bihar unit, for its workers.

“So, we have to work for peace and justice. Muslim women and young girls also have these qualities but the problem in our country is that women do not get equal opportunities. The problem is one of opportunity, not ability,” she said “Muslim women and girls have immense potential. Whenever she has got the opportunity, she has proved her mettle. The Shaheen Bagh protest is a vivid example of this. The way our women and girls resisted during ban on hijab in Karnataka, is also a good example. Many girls have proved their talent, their potential, and abilities by wearing hijab during that time,” she highlighted. About the current situation in the country, she observed: “The kind of hatred that is visible now has not been seen in the last 75 years,” She said that “atrocities against women have increased in our country. There has been a comparative increase in violence against them, whether at home or in public places.”

Responding to questions about the misuse of religion, she said: “Religion is being used negatively by linking it with politics.” She said that violence and riots were conspired by certain forces in the country after which Muslim youths were specifically targeted and arrested.

“It has been observed on many occasions when the husband does not return home during riots, a doubt arises whether he is alive or not. Due to violence and other reasons, Muslim women all of a sudden become widows. Many Muslim women are worried about this issue. Women’s lives have become horrible and very painful. There is a dire need to end such a situation. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has become just a political slogan. Every daughter in our country is in trouble. There are a lot of regulations in place that could be implemented properly, which is not happening. Many new Bills are being passed to demonize different communities, especially the Muslim community.,” she said.

“For how long will this situation continue?” she questioned. She stressed that Muslim women become empowered, cooperate in building a better society, and fight for their rights democratically. Emphasizing the need to build a peaceful atmosphere in the country, the JIH leader said, “This is the duty of the government to ensure that peace prevails in the country. Along with this, attention should be paid to education. We should focus on developmental issues also. Unemployment is a big problem of our country and our attention should be focussed on it.”

“As far as women are concerned, there has been a huge increase in atrocities against women in our country in the last ten years, whether it is domestic violence or violence in public places. Public places should be female-friendly. In these ten years, women’s lives have been made even more difficult. Secondly, many women want to get an education but it is equally important to provide primary facilities for it. The facilities like lavatories etc. for women in government schools and colleges are not adequate. Her privacy is also in danger. Institutions should also be female-friendly,” she pointed out.

She alleged, “Continuous efforts are being made to demonize Muslims. Even women in educational institutions are also spared. In places like Karnataka, the life of girls wearing hijab was made difficult. It was because of this that many girls had to leave their studies midway. If our Constitution is secular, then the government should also be secular. And religion is being misused by bringing it into politics. There is a need to end this and to encourage brotherhood in society. People of every religion should be allowed to contribute to the development of the country with their religious identities, and not by hiding or eradicating it.”

“We are seeing and hearing many slogans, but all these things are happening in the opposite direction on the ground level. Due to this, our country is moving in the opposite direction. Instead of developing, our country is going backward in education, economic, and cultural fields. We all have to work together to move forward in this field,” she pointed out. In reply to a question, Rahamathunnisa K. appealed to Muslim women that they should fully exercise their responsibility of voting. And voting should be done thoughtfully because it is our responsibility to decide who should be our representative in the Parliament and Assemblies.

Who will raise our voices in legislative bodies? Responding to it, the JIH leader said, “We have to use our vote to see who will work for peace and justice. There is a need to fulfill the duty of casting your vote to encourage value-based politics and eliminate hatred. The JIH is making efforts to awaken people about this. There is an equal appeal to women that as citizens, it is our responsibility to decide how our representatives should be. And to ensure our rights we have to exercise our right to franchise given by our Constitution to both women and men.”

“The JIH, along with secular people, is appealing to the people that peace should be established in the country and there should be maximum focus on development issues. Value-based politics should be brought into the country. We have to take the country forward by ending the politics of hatred. Everyone, religious and non-religious, should have equal opportunity to live together in this country. If women work together then more changes can be brought in the country. For this, apart from creating platforms like Sadbhavna Manch and FDCA (Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity) in different places and states, the Jamaat is also making efforts to work together by forming other forums, NGOs, and trusts as per the need there. There is a need to work in the fields of education, literacy, employment, and skill development,” she elaborated when asked what the JIH is doing in various fields.

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