A faith hijacked

Why don’t we see fatwas in support of the right of every child to food, shelter, healthcare and a decent education?

BY IRFAN HUSAIN

WHEN Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa directing Muslims not to play chess as, according to him, the ancient board game was un-Islamic, a roar of laughter greeted this edict on social media.

A similar reaction was seen when a Malaysian cleric decreed that yoga should not be practised by Muslims as it had Hindu origins. More recently, a so-called fatwa permitting Muslim men to eat their wives in extreme circumstances went viral on social media. Although the Saudi grand mufti denied having issued it, many may have believed it to be genuine as the same worthy had urged in 2012 that all churches in the Arabian peninsula be destroyed.

But why look towards Saudi Arabia and Malaysia for such examples? Here in Pakistan some years ago, a cleric in Noshki, a small town in Balochistan, reportedly issued a fatwa to the effect that girls using mobile phones would have acid thrown in their faces. He cited ‘Islamic tradition’ to bar girls from receiving a formal education and was critical of women working in NGOs, urging them to go home and look after their husbands.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban banned all forms of sports and entertainment. Women showing an inch of skin could be flogged, as they are in Saudi Arabia. And while the world is outraged at the routine beheading of prisoners by the militant Islamic State group, it chooses to avert its eyes from the same savage punishment regularly meted out to convicts in Saudi Arabia.

And let’s not forget our own Council of Islamic Ideology’s preoccupation with the subjugation of women. Its misogynistic rulings on child marriage and divorce threaten to drag Pakistan back to the seventh century.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1239223/a-faith-hijacked

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