MT Abdulla Musaliyar, a senior functionary of Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama chided one of the organisers for calling a Class 10 girl student on the dais to receive an award.

The girl on stage to receive the awardScreengrab/Manorama News
news Controversy Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 11:58

A Muslim scholar reprimanding the organisers of an event in Malappuram for inviting a girl on stage has been criticised by political leaders as well as the Kerala Women's Commission, which on Wednesday, May 11, termed the same as disgraceful. Visuals of the incident aired on news channels and went viral, sparking a row on social media. MT Abdulla Musaliyar, a senior functionary of Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, a body of Muslim scholars, had reprimanded the organisers of an event at a madarasa, where the Class 10 student was receiving the award. 

Terming Musaliyar's remarks as disgraceful, Kerala Women's Commission chairperson P Sathidevi said such conduct was not appropriate in a civilised society, especially in a state which was at the forefront of female literacy. In a release issued by the commission, she said people should awaken their conscience against the actions of such religious leaders who want to turn the society backwards by centuries.

In the video clip aired by news channels, Musaliyar is seen chiding one of the organisers for calling a Class 10 girl student on the dais to receive an award. The incident occurred during the inauguration of a madrasa building in Malappuram district, where students were felicitated recently. The memento was handed over to the girl by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader Panakkad Sayed Abbas Ali Shihab Thangal. Soon after the award was handed over, Musaliyar questioned the organisers as to why the girl was invited on stage.

"Who invited a Class 10 girl to the stage? If you do this again... Don't call such girls here. Don't you know the rules of Samastha? Were you the one who called her? Ask her parents to come to the stage to collect the award. Don't do such things while we are sitting here. This will appear in photos and be telecast," a visibly angry Musaliyar was seen telling the organisers, while Thangal was standing next to him. The person who announced the name of the girl was seen apologising to Musaliyar.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan also disapproved of what happened. Speaking to reporters, he said that if what was shown in the visuals was correct, then neither the Congress nor UDF can accept or support such stands or remarks.

LDF MLA Mathew T Thomas, in a Facebook post, also criticised the conduct of the Muslim scholar. Terming the remarks and the conduct of the scholar as unfortunate, he said it must have “hurt the innocent mind of the child besides impinging upon the constitutional principles of gender equality”.

In his post, he apologised to the girl and urged her to consider it as a challenge and not to be discouraged by what happened. 

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said that this was another example of Muslim women being pushed into seclusion "in total defiance of Qur'anic commands". Taking to Twitter to express his displeasure, Khan tweeted, "Sad to know that a young talented girl was humiliated on stage in Malappuram district while receiving a well deserved award simply because she was born into a Muslim family."

"This is yet another example of how Muslim clerics continue to push hard Muslim women into seclusion and suppress their personality in total defiance of Qur'anic commands and provisions of the Constitution," he said.

The Governor further said that as per the Qur'an, women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, but men have an added degree of responsibility towards them. "Holy Qur'an says - " And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them according to what is fair and reasonable, but men have an added degree of RESPONSIBILITY towards them -2.228," he tweeted.

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