August 2001 News

Mirwaiz criticises acid attacks on women

10 August 2001
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the Jamat-e-Islami have taken exception to throwing acid at young girls for enforcing ''Islamic'' dress code . The Mirwaiz (head priest) told a Friday congregation at the Jamia Masjid here that such actions had to be condemned. ''Islam does not allow such actions and that too for implementing the Islamic code. I have a duty to advise the people not to resort to such actions as it involves the future of young girls,'' he told The Hindu later. ''It is the duty of Islamic institutions to make people aware of the principles of Islam by way of holding seminars and symposia,'' he said. A hitherto unknown militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Jabbar, has asked Muslim women to observe purdah and not to wear transparent clothes or adopt any western dress code. In some parts men have also been asked to adhere to certain ''diktats''. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is also the chairman of Awami Action Committee (AAC) and a senior executive member of the All- Party Hurriyat Conference. A Jamat-e-Islami spokesman also expressed concern over the incident in which acid was thrown at two women teachers in the Khanyar locality. ''It remains a fact that women in Islam have to adopt certain dress codes but it can be implemented only with strategic efforts,'' the spokesman said. The organisation has appealed the people of Kashmir to fulfil their responsibilities towards the society by adhering to the Islamic code of conduct. There is a general resentment against the incidents of acid- throwing because they ''conveyed a wrong message about the religion itself''. Though many support the code they fault the way it is enforced. Mohammad Hussain, a teacher, agrees that the code must be enforced through a vigorous awareness campaign. A similar campaign was launched in 1990 by a radical women''s group, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, but it could not be sustained for long. Officials describe the incidents as ''Talibanisation'' of Kashmir and say that it cannot last as the people ''will not support it''.


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