Indian Muslim Student Fights for Hijab

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Asia
Saturday, 13 August 2011


shiitenews women hijabAn Indian Muslim student in a Mangalore college, who was denied the right to wear hijab in classroom, has decided to take her fight for hijab right to the governor or even the President to protest against violating her religious freedom.

“There is no question of stepping back,” Hadiya, a II PUC (commerce) student of Jain PU College, Moodbidri, told Bangalore Mirror on Friday, August 12.

“Though the response from the DC was not very encouraging, I will wait till he gets back to me, either directly or through the college.” 

As Hadiya decided to don hijab, the Muslim student prepared herself for the second academic year in her university.  

Yet, the decision was not welcomed by the university administration who regarded it as a violation to the uniform. 

At first, she was allowed to sit in the ladies room to complete her notes. Afterwards she was banned and stopped going to college over a month.

In a letter to Dakshina Kannada deputy commissioner Channappa Gowda, she has sought official permission to do so.

Hadiya said that she would go as far as to the governor or even the President if she fails to get a positive response from the deputy commissioner.

“In case I fail to get a positive response, after consulting my elders, I will write to the Governor and the President of India,” the 17-year-old student added.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Muslims account for 140 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Islamic population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

Discrimination 

Fighting for right to wear hijab for a year, Hadiya managed to initiate a signature campaign and got the support of 50 Muslim and 15 non-Muslim students, a move challenged later by the principal. 

“The principal says I am creating tension in the college,” the young student said.

“I am only fighting for a cause. I want to continue my studies.”

Hadiya is not the first girl at Jain PU College who calls for right to don hijab. 

Two years ago, Aysha Ashmin (19), a I B Com student of Sri Venkataraman Swamy (SVS) College, Bantwal, had made a similar complaint about not being allowed to wear a headscarf in class. 

Subsequently, she changed her college.

According to her mother Hina, the family has no problem with the college but only wants permission for Hadiya to observe ‘hijab’. 

Umaira Khatun, a social worker, said ‘hijab’ is a part of Islam and should be respected. 

“We do not intend to bring a bad name to the college,” Khatun said.

Hadiya confirmed that she cares about completing her studies at her college and not to be forced to change it.  

“Despite not attending classes, I constantly update my notes with the help of classmates in my neighborhood,” she said.

“Initially, I was allowed to sit in the ladies’ room. Now I have been asked not to come to the college.”

Muslims have long complained of being discriminated against in all walks of life in Hindu-majority India.

Official figures show Muslims, whom make up around 13 percent of India's population, are lagging behind in literacy.

Muslims also complain of being discriminated against in jobs.

They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in India's 1.3 million-strong military.

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