A peak under the veil

A peak under the veil

There are other episodes as well, like Facebook competition on portrait of Prophet Mohammad and a survey stating that Muslims are the most backward community in India on educational front.

The portrait of Prophet episode will die down as the issue is under consideration of the Central Home ministry to ban the Facebook page. The educational revelation will not alter either the reality or the perception. However, the burqa debate looks like it’s here to stay for some time as it effects directly the working Muslim women across the country.

When you get into the minds of these Muslim working women through conversation, interesting facts emerge. Their relationship to the fatwa, burqa, religion, the Prophet and the Holy Quran reflects in their opinions. Some take liberty in interpretation and relevance of the fatwa to their practical lives, whereas some others take a position of total surrender to the holy dictate.

Nazima Khan, a school teacher in her early thirties believes, wearing a burqa limits women’s capacity to deliver excellence and her qualities are not evident. “So to work with excellence burqa is an obstacle.”

On the other hand, a doctor in her late thirties, who does not want to be named, believes any work can be done with equal competence and ease. “I drive two wheeler, do all my jobs with burqa on. I am completely at ease and comfortable. I have a sense of protection as the way men look at women does not happen with me.”

Samira Pathan, 26, a finance officer in an Indian company, differs with the opinion. “In today’s corporate world, working with a burqa on is inconvenient. If you are working in a complete Muslim company or organisation where everybody is in burqa, it makes no difference. However, in multi-culture setups that’s not advisable.” She believes the times have changed so you need to be prudent in making choices.

Shahina Imran Khan (33) believes it's an individual decision. “Though it's said in the Holy Quran to be clad in burqa, half of the women do not obey. That's their personal choice.” Shahina, who works as a beauty and cosmetology trainer, doesn't feel knowledgeable enough to comment about the fatwas.
(The writer is a  freelance journalist
based in Mumbai.)

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