KERALA’S Muslim Educational Body Bans Veil For Ladies On Its Campuses Drawing Flack From Conservatives

AMIDT  allegations  by security  forces  across the world that burqa used by Muslim ladies  is being  misused by  terrorists and other anti-socials,  a Muslim educational group in  Marxist ruled Kerala has banned its students from covering their faces with any attire on its  campuses  .The Kozhikode-based Muslim Education Society (MES) established in 1964  has  issued a circular urging its students not to attend classes wearing any face-covering attire triggering opposition from orthodox Muslim organisations and scholars. The MES defends its stand saying that covering women’s faces was a new trend and had not been in practice in the community in the state earlier. MES Institutions founder- president P K Fazal Gafoor made it clear that the directive should be implemented from the 2019-20 academic year . The institutions affiliated to MES must make sure to implement from 2019-20 academic year that students do not come to the class wearing any attire covering their faces, he added. Any ‘inappropriate’ trend in the campuses should be discouraged. “Any attire, which is unacceptable to the  society, cannot be allowed, even if it is in the name of modernity or religious ritual,” Gafoor said.The circular, addressed to the secretaries and the principals of the MES institutions, also asked them to include the dress code directive as a new rule in the college calendar for the new academic year. Despite   protest against the circular, Gafoor said on Thursday there was no question of going back on it adding 99 per cent of Muslim women   do not cover their faces. MES would not implement the dress codes being imposed in the name of “religious fundamentalism”.”We have freedom to ban such attires on our campuses. There is no need to consult with religious outfits for that,” the MES president said.     It may be recalled that   Fazal Gafoor in 2014 had said that the niqab was un-Islamic and was a western import. He had also strongly opposed the use of niqab saying that blocking sunlight on the face by wearing it continuously can result in Vitamin D deficiency in Muslim women. “This is not Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. This is India where there is freedom of speech. I have all the right to speak against the custom. We may have differing views on various matters. But we have the freedom to express our opinion. Covering of face cannot be considered as Islamic. Nowhere in Islam is it stated that faces should be covered,” he had said at the time. The April 17 circular has been widely reported in media. Meanwhile, The Sri Lankan government has banned covering faces after Easter Sunday serial bombings that killed 253 people. However, MES chief Fazal Gafoor told the Times of India that his decision had nothing to do with the Sri Lanka blasts.

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