Kamala Surayya regrets now for embracing Islam:Taslima

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on August 22, 2006

‘Islam failed to give equality to women’

Surayya made a mistake: Taslima

Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has said that in her opinion writer Kamala Surayya (earlier Kamala Das or Madhavikkutty) has a committed a mistake by seeking refuge in Islam leaving Hinduism in the evening of her life. Nasreen, who met Surayya at the latter’s Kochi residence on Monday, said Surayya had realised that ‘even Islam does not give equality to women’.

On Surayya’s decision to embrace Islam, Nasreen said, “I asked her why she did that. She was silent. I asked whether she regretted it. She said yes.”

Nasreen told newsmen here on Tuesday that Kamala Surayya was now in a cage and she should have the freedom to come back and ‘live the life she likes’. Kamala Surayya had embraced Islam in 1999 at the age of 67. Speaking at a function in Kollam also, Nasreen aired the same opinion about Surayya.

Nasreen said that she did not think Islam could be reformed. “The attempts by many to reform the religion had failed totally. I don’t think it can be reformed. People don’t need religion to live like a good human being,” she said. She said that the country needed a uniform civil code to curb religious fundamentalism.

Nasreen said a secular state should have a uniform civil code to ensure justice to all sections of people. She said Muslim fundamentalists should not be treated as representative of the Muslim community. “The code should be based on equality and justice and not on religion,” she said. The biggest tragedy of the mankind was that morality had been hijacked by religion, she added. She claimed most of the Islamic laws were based on inequality. “Demo-curacy means democracy for everybody. States should guarantee equal rights for everyone without considering their religious beliefs,” Nasreen said. To a question whether her argument for uniform civil code would lend credence to the demand of Hindu fundamentalists in India, she asked, “If Hindu fundamentalists do some good things why should I oppose them?”

Nasreen said she had been fighting religious fundamentalists for a long time. She had used her writing as a means to protest against fundamentalism, extremism and obscurantism. “I want to make people conscious about their rights and freedom. People should be made aware of secular ideals to fight fundamentalism.”

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