Thursday, February 03, 2005

Muslim women set up own law board

At last, some relief and respite for Muslim women!! Wonder, why it took them so long to realise their own state?!!


Amita Verma
Lucknow, Feb. 2: Muslim women on Wednesday formed the All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board barely a week after the Shia community set up its All-India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board.
Announcing this here on Wednesday, the president of the newly constituted board, Ms Shaista Amber, said that since the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board had failed to effectively tackle issues related to women and their rights, Muslim women decided to set up a separate board to focus on women’s issues and their rights under the Shariat.
"The new board, which pledges to work under the tenets of Islam, will ensure protection of women’s rights. Islam gives equal rights to women, but the interpreters of the religion have reduced women to the status of a commodity. Millions of Muslim women are suffering after being given talaq by their husbands in a wrong manner and the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board has done nothing to stop this malpractice. If the board had done its duty, Muslim women would not have been lining up in front of family courts. The women’s board now takes it upon itself to educate illiterate and poor Muslim women about their rights and offer them protection under Shariat," said Ms Shaista Amber.
She added that despite the presence of over two dozen women on the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, the board has failed to offer justice to the two Muslim daughters who had been raped by their own father, Mohammed Hashim, and had even borne his children. "The father is in jail but the daughters are facing social ostracism. The family has no means of income because no one is ready to even interact with them. What has the board done in this case? Similarly, the board has chosen to turn a blind eye to the case of Gudiya, who was forced to choose between two husbands in Meerut, or that of Nazia, who was married off to a 70-year-old man in Faizabad. In such circumstances, we had no option but to form our own board in order to deal with problems specific to women in the community," she explained.
The board, which has Ms Zakiya Jaffrey, widow of slain MP Ehsaan Jaffrey of Gujarat, as its adviser, now plans to set up units in every state and then in every district. "We are organising a convention next month in which the board will get even more broad-based," Ms Amber said.
Interestingly, the All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board on Wednesday rejected the concept of triple talaq which, according to them, is a violation of the Shariat. The women’s board is not averse to maintaining constant contact with other personal law boards on common issues and is also open to the idea of setting up its own Darul Qaza (Islamic court).
Meanwhile, the formation of the All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board has given a major jolt to the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

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