Sunday, 6 May 2012
Curtailing ‘immodesty’: Fatwa against female education and in favour of compulsory marriage for female NGO workers

From the Express Tribune

KOHISTAN / DASSU: A former lawmaker and cleric from Kohistan district, Maulana Abdul Haleem, termed formal education for women un-Islamic and asked parents to pluck their daughters from school, or else they would be ‘doomed’.

The nonagenarian, who was elected to the National Assembly from Kohistan on the now-defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s ticket in 2002, also railed against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the region in his Friday sermon, calling them ‘hubs of immodesty’.

Maulana Haleem, who was an office-bearer of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl until recently, was delivering a Friday sermon, at Jamia Masjid Komila, on who is dayoos, or those liable to be condemned to hell.

“It’s beghairti (immodesty) to equip girls with secular education,” the cleric said, adding that those Kohistani parents who were sending their girls to schools were acting against ‘Islamic shariah’

He did not spare female NGO workers either.

“Some women from these NGOs visit our houses frequently, mobilising naïve Kohistani women to follow their agenda in the name of health and hygiene education,” he said, adding that this was ‘unacceptable to Kohistani culture’. He threatened them with ‘dire consequences’, saying that married female NGO workers will be sent back to their husbands, and the unmarried ones will be wedded to Kohistani men.

When approached for comments, the cleric stood by the contents of his sermon, and insisted that several Hadith books prohibit girls from receiving degrees and certificates in ‘secular education’. 
. . . the cleric said that formal education paves the way for girls to enter the job market. “When they permit their women to work, they give them a free hand to mix with na-mehrum (men they are not related to by blood) – by doing so, the girl’s father, brother or husband become dayoos in the eye of the shariah,” he said.

Such people will never enter Paradise, he added.

The only responsibility men owe to women is their sustenance, and not education, he said. In return, the women should stay at home and look after their children and family members, he added.

He claimed that 97% of girls schools in Kohistan were closed and the few girls that were enrolled, only visited their schools to collect cooking oil which the education department was distributing with the support of foreign donors.

Posted on 05/06/2012 1:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
6 May 2012
Send an emailKinneddar

Hard to know where to begin when addressing this type of mindset—one apparently set in concrete.

Underlying it all of course is the premise that females are dependent beings who must be mastered, controlled, and continually monitored lest they have a free and independent thought—or worse, an independent action borne of their own free will. Thoughts are invisible, but actions are visible and there for all to see. Since education leads to brain activity which leads to new thought patterns which could (horrible thought) lead to observable changes in behaviour, no wonder it is so feared.  

The position of the male in Islamic society is dependent upon the subjgation of women. Denial of education is a time-tested method for keeping the oppressed down, for ensuring that slaves remain chattel, with no independent thought. This suits Haleem well and he cites Islamic teaching to support his view that men have only one obligation toward women– to support them, not educate them.

No wonder he fears the uppity female NGO workers, who challenge his worldview by showing that females can think for themselves, act independently and with competence. His fear is a direct reflection of the threat such females pose to his shaky self-esteem which is built on the false foundation of his presumed superiority.

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