news Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 05:30

| The News Minute | March 15, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. IST |

A women’s football match in Malda, Bengal was cancelled on Saturday after a fatwa was reportedly issued by Muslim clerics.

A “fatwa” is a legal opinion or interpretation of the Islamic law that can be issued only by a qualified jurist or a “mufti”.

This latest fatwa at Harishchandrapur in West Bengal is one of quite a few issued by clerics and reported, and here are some of them:

In 2015:

According to a report in The Times of India, a women’s football match was supposed to take place on Saturday between Kolkata-XI and North Bengal-XI. The two teams, which had players of national calibre like Krishna Das and Sujata Kar and Arjuna-awardee Santi Mallik was also to be present at the occasion.

The match, organized by Progressive Youth Club of Chandipur village was called off though, after some Muslim clerics reportedly issued a fatwa.

Club President Reja Razi is quoted by the TOI is saying: “Last week, some moulavis (Muslim clerics) raised their objection to the women's football match... many more clerics said a women's match would be against Islam. They also threatened to make a stronger agitation if the match was held. The BDO then ordered to stop the match”.

The BDO, Biplab Roy conceded to the newspaper that the police were expecting a “deterioration in [the] law and order situation” while the local Imam Maqsud Alam claimed that he hadn’t issued a fatwa, but reportedly said that “Islam does not permit us to watch women playing in the field wearing short dresses”.

As said earlier, this is not the first time that such a dictum has been issued to women.

In 2013:

Just over two years ago, Jammu and Kashmir’s only all-girl rock band got into hot water after the Grand Mufti of Kashmir had issued another fatwa against the girls.

A report by Zee News mentions that the band, who go by the name Praagaash, were subjected to a lot of online threats and hate messages too.

The reason was given by the cleric who also confirmed that he had issued it. He’s quoted as saying in the report: “Yes, I issued the fatwa. All the bad things happening in the Indian society are because of music,” he said. Adding he said that “They (girls) should stop from such activities and not get influenced by the support of political leadership”.

The girls had also reportedly earned the ire of the Hurriyat whose spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, said that “There is no room for nourishing Western culture and immoral values in Kashmir. No noble family will allow their girls to choose their profession as a dancer”.

In 2010:

The largest Muslim seminary in India, the Darul Uloom of Deoband in Lucknow had also issued one such fatwa just under five years ago when they said that women shouldn’t work with men as it was “un-Islamic”.

A report by NDTV mentions that the fatwa said it was unlawful since there would be interaction between female and their male peers without the veil. Reportedly, the Deoband clerics said that the Shariat law says that women should wear the veil to work and not mingle with their male colleagues.

Sunni Muslim cleric Maulana Abul Irfan Firangimahli told the NDTV that “Those women who are following their careers may get great success in this life...but they have to be accountable and answerable for this in their afterlife and then they will regret their career choices.”

From the latest fatwa imposed on a football match to music and also curbing basic freedom. The interpretation of laws can be flimsy as we see.


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