New Delhi: While the Karnataka hijab row is snowballing into a major controversy across the country, the Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday said the hijab is not intrinsic to the practice of Islam.
Denouncing the argument that Sikhs are allowed to wear turbans while Muslim women are being banned from wearing hijabs in some colleges and schools is “preposterous”.
“In Sikhism, the turban is considered and accepted as essential to the religion. On the other hand, hijab in the context of women’s dress finds no mention in the Quran,” he said in an exclusive interview with a leading media house.
He further alleged that “vested interests” were instigating young Muslim women to protest for their right to wear hijab. Arif Mohammad Khan said that these “vested interests” want to “push Muslim women back into the dark ages”. “Don’t be instigated by outsiders, focus on your studies,” he advised the students.
If the ’Right to wear Hijab’ argument is accepted then it will be the Muslim women who will be the losers: Arif Mohammed Khan (@KeralaGovernor)#KarnatakaHijabRow #HijabRow #Hijab | @gauravcsawant pic.twitter.com/H8Ou72xn6t
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) February 12, 2022
Earlier this week, schools and colleges were shut down in an escalating row over hijab restrictions in class. The protests that began against a hijab ban in one government-run college in Udupi spread to many other campuses where girls wearing headscarves were not allowed entry. As saffron scarf-wearing students launched rival protests, violence at one college forced the police to fire teargas to control the flare-up.
The controversy snowballed further with national political parties attacking each other over the issue. The protests have now spread to different parts of the nation and the matter is in the high court at present.
Following these protests, a three-day holiday from February 9 to 11 has been declared in all the universities under the Department of Higher Education and colleges under the department of Collegiate and Technical Education (DCTE).
The Karnataka HC had earlier appealed student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquillity while hearing various pleas challenging a ban on hijab in the state.
On the issue, Governor Khan said, “The basic question in my mind is whether this dress code was in force when they applied for admission. If not, I can understand why they are raising the issue.”
The Kerala Governor further said that it is Muslim women who will be “the losers” if the argument of those protesting for the right to wear hijab is accepted.
“They [protesting Muslim women] are being used by those who will do anything to divide society and embarrass the government. These people are following the legacy of the Muslim League. How long will be engaged in these useless non-issues?” said the governor.
Responding to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s vocal critique of the ban on hijab in educational institutes in Karnataka, he said, “She may be misinformed. She doesn’t realise that if this argument is accepted, Muslim women will suffer most.”
Malala Yousafzai had reacted to the hijab controversy in Karnataka, saying “refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying” and “leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women”.
He went on to say that Islam harbours the mentality “to keep women suppressed”.