Campaign To Promote Hijab In Kashmir

12 November 2015
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Red roses may signify romance between a man and a woman. But, in Kashmir valley, a little-known group, the International Muslim Unity Council (IMUC), on Thursday offered red roses to girls to promote the wearing of the hijab (full body veil). On Thursday afternoon, a group of girls, associated with the IMUC, stood outside Kashmir's premier Government Women's College here and offered roses and scarves to female students wearing the hijab. 'From 1 p.m. up to 2:30 p.m., roses, scarves, stoles and religious pamphlets were offered to girl students coming out of the college,' IMUC general secretary Syed Javid Abbas said. Claiming that the IMUC was an international organisation, Mr. Abbas said the hijab campaign was part of the ongoing campaigns in New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh Muslim University and Hyderabad University. 'We are employing the soft way of putting across our message. The West, through the media, is trying to dissuade Muslim women from wearing the hijab. Kashmir is a pious land and hijab should be worn,' said Mr. Abbas. The group is planning to target other educational institutions too. Mr. Abbas claimed that use of the hijab was going down in the State. 'In the past 15 years, there is a visible change in Kashmir. Women are not wearing the hijab the way they used to,' he said. However, several students took umbrage at the IMUC's action. 'Culturally, women in Kashmir prefer to wear modest dresses. Most women wear hijab by choice. To present roses to girls wearing the hijab is an insult to those who don't wear it but are faithful to and abide by Islamic tenets,' said a student, Nazia Rashid. She said there were more pressing problems faced by the Kashmir Valley that needed the attention of the youth. 'Corruption is eating up merit. Only the powerful get jobs. But who takes on the corrupt and mighty people who flout laws day in and day out,' she asked.