Owaisi trashes PM’s claim on Haj journey of Muslim women

Hyderabad MP said that a regulation by Haj authorities of Saudi Arabia has been in force for many years

Hyderabad: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday rejected claims by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he had facilitated Muslim women’s travel for Haj without a male guardian, or‘mahram’.

The Hyderabad MP said that a regulation by Haj authorities of Saudi Arabia was in force for many years which allow women above the age of 45 years to perform Haj without a ‘mahram’ as long as they travel with a group.

He told reporters here that women above 45 years of age from Indonesia, Malaysia and several other countries had been performing Haj under this regulation.

‘Mahram’ is a male relative of a woman with whom she is permanently forbidden to marry by Islam.

Modi in his monthly radio show Mann Ki Baat on Sunday said that his government had removed the restriction that allows Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a ‘maharam’. He had stated that injustice has been done to women for decades.

“It has become the habit of the Prime Minister to claim credit for everything. If tomorrow women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to drive, he will claim credit for the same,” he said.

The MP said if Modi had so much concern for Muslim women, he should do justice to Zakia Jafri, widow of former MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“This is all tokenism. If Modi is really concerned about Muslim women, he should provide 7 per cent reservation for them in education. He has two-third majority in Parliament and he can bulldoze a bill in this regard,” the MP said

On the passing of a bill in Lok Sabha over triple talaq, the MIM President said that if it became a legislation, it would be the biggest injustice to Muslim women.

He argued that since marriage in Islam was a civil contract, there could be no penal provision. He also pointed out that the Supreme Court in its order on the issue did not ask the government to bring a criminal law.

“The government is saying that Muslim countries have banned triple talaq but the fact is that there is no penal provision in any Muslim country.”

Owaisi alleged that the real objective of the government was to do away with all forms of talaq and snatch Sharia from Muslims.

The MP said abandonment of married women was a bigger problem than divorce.

“The rate of abandonment is twice the rate of divorce. There are 24 lakh [2.4 million] abandoned women and they include 20 lakh [2 million] Hindu women, two lakh [200,000] Muslim and 90,000 Christian women,” he said.

“The married women should get their right to live with their husbands whether they are in Gujarat or in Delhi,” he said.

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