ON THE DEOBAND FATWA ON CO-EDUCATION
9 July 2007
The All India Democratic Women’s Association views with concern the latest fatwa issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband, declaring co-education to be 'illegal'. The AIDWA feels that while any organisation, religious or otherwise, has the right to express its opinion on any subject there should be restraint exercised on pronouncing anything that is perfectly legal constitutionally and otherwise as 'illegal'.
It is also most unfortunate that, at a time when the Muslim community is making a lot of effort to overcome educational backwardness and when implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar Commission for the Govt. to take immediate steps in this regard are being demanded, such a fatwa that seeks to limit already limited education for girls is issued.
AIDWA welcomes the fact that many Muslim scholars and clerics have criticized the fatwa although most of them have insisted on a special 'dress code' for Muslim girls studying in co-educational institutions.
We believe that in the matter of dress the wishes of the individual should be respected wherever there is no uniform prescribed by the institution concerned.
As far as the fatwa's concern for the safety of girls in co-educational institutions is concerned, AIDWA emphasizes that the responsibility of ensuring the safety of women and girls everywhere, in every sphere cannot be shirked by anyone. As the ghastly incident of gang-rape of two young Madarsa girl students in Allahabad showed the safety of young girls is something that is paid little attention with tragic consequences. Blaming violence against women on the wearing or revealing clothes, associating with boys and young men or attending co-educational classes have the effect of deflecting attention away from social and Governmental responsibility to create safe environments for women Everywhere.
AIDWA requests all concerned to reflect on the real problems of Muslim women’s education and to take effective steps to solve them.