More Muslim Women come forward to support ‘Anti Purdah Movement’ by Rayana

published on September 14, 2010

‘Give moral support to Rayana’

KOZHIKODE: A public discussion, held here on Monday, on the topic ‘Is purdah necessary for Islam’ emphasised the need to formulate a collective forum to offer moral support to Rayana Khasi, who has been receiving threats from fundamentalists for refusing to wear purdah.

The discussion, organised by the NISA, a progressive Muslim women’s forum, opined that apart from legal aid, collective effort was needed to extend moral support to the girl from Kasargod, who recently made a public appeal for support in her fight to uphold her right to wear the dress of her liking.

Inaugurating the debate, P K Sainaba, member of the State Women’s Commission, said that women are being oppressed in an era of women empowerment as their male counterparts are afraid of losing their upper-hand in society.

The negative forces have realised that religion is the easiest way to suppress women, she added. Mobilisation of public support is necessary to eliminate such threats being faced by women in the name of purdah. Social and political movements should support Rayana and other women to isolate the forces which want to suppress women, she said.

The Holy Quran does not even mention the purdah and the religion never demands that women should wear purdah. The tradition of wearing purdah was imposed in Kerala owing to the influence of Gulf countries, she said.

Historian M Gangadharan, while addressing the gathering, said that there are business motives in the minds of those who want to forcefully propagate the custom of wearing purdah.

The police and politicians are passive about the incident, he said. He also demanded that the cops should show their nerve to expose those affluent hands which work to create disintegration among people in the name of purdah. The ministers of Kerala should also come forward to react, he said.

Janamma Kunhunni, leader of the Democratic Women’s Association, said that their organisation is ready to protect Rayana if the girl, instead of claiming to be a true follower of Islam, comes out openly in search of help.

She also demanded that the Islamic women’s movements, which organise rallies and conventions, to support Rayana and her family, who are being tortured in the name of dress code.

NISA leaders Shamshad Hussein, V P Suhra and People’s Union for Civil Liberties state general secretary P A Pouran, Khadeeja Mumthas and many others from the social and literary fields participated in the discussion.

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