Vijayawada: A fatwa issued 10 years ago, allegedly at the instance of Vijayawada West MLA Jalil Khan, has returned to haunt him and is proving to be an obstacle in the way of his daughter Shabana Khatoon contesting as the Telugu Desam candidate in the forthcoming elections.
Former mayor and TD leader Mallika Begum is insisting that the fatwa against Muslim women contesting elections be applicable to Ms Khatoon. The man who had issued the fatwa ten years ago, defended it and issued it once again on Monday.
Ms Mallika Begum said that she had contested the elections on behalf of the Congress for the Vijayawada West MLA seat in 2009 and Jalil Khan contested as a rebel candidate. She alleged that Jalil Khan influenced Muslim preachers to issue a fatwa against her which led to her defeat in that election.
On Saturday, Ms Mallika Begum and her supporters staged protests in front of the Jumma Masjid when the Imam of the mosque, Moulana Abdul Khadeer Rizvi, who had issued the fatwa, was on the premises. She and her supporters demanded that Moulana Rizvi issue a fatwa against Shabana Khatoon. Since Moulana Rizvi and other Muslim elders supporting Jalil Khan gave the fatwa to discourage Muslim women from contesting elections, a fatwa should be issued against Ms Khatoon too, they said.
Moulana Rizvi then clarified that the fatwa issued in 2009 was still applicable to all women, including Ms Khatoon. But Mallika Begum and her supporters demanded a fresh fatwa be issued. He finally gave an assurance that a fresh fatwa would be issued.
Meanwhile, Islamic scholar Md. Ismail said that it was a pity that Muslim politicians are using the religion for political benefits and using fatwas to mislead the public. He said that issuing of fatwa restraining women from contesting elections was unacceptable. He appealed to Muslim leaders and scholars to support for women’s empowerment.
Prominent Islamic scholar Maulana Altaf Mohammed Raza said that Maulana Rizvi should have clarified that his fatwa did not bar Muslim women from contesting the election as long as they maintain decorum in public and do not mingle with men or shake hands with strangers.
Responding to the issue, Mr Jalil Khan said that Ms Mallika Begum had ignored the fatwa and contested the election in 2009 any way and hence she had no right to demand a fresh fatwa against his daughter....