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Curtailing ‘immodesty’: Fatwa against female education and in favour of compulsory marriage for female NGO workers
From the Express Tribune
KOHISTAN / DASSU: A former lawmaker and cleric from Kohistan district, Maulana Abdul Haleem, termed formal education for women un-Islamic and asked parents to pluck their daughters from school, or else they would be ‘doomed’.
The nonagenarian, who was elected to the National Assembly from Kohistan on the now-defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s ticket in 2002, also railed against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the region in his Friday sermon, calling them ‘hubs of immodesty’.
Maulana Haleem, who was an office-bearer of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl until recently, was delivering a Friday sermon, at Jamia Masjid Komila, on who is dayoos, or those liable to be condemned to hell.
“It’s beghairti (immodesty) to equip girls with secular education,” the cleric said, adding that those Kohistani parents who were sending their girls to schools were acting against ‘Islamic shariah’
He did not spare female NGO workers either.
“Some women from these NGOs visit our houses frequently, mobilising naïve Kohistani women to follow their agenda in the name of health and hygiene education,” he said, adding that this was ‘unacceptable to Kohistani culture’. He threatened them with ‘dire consequences’, saying that married female NGO workers will be sent back to their husbands, and the unmarried ones will be wedded to Kohistani men.
When approached for comments, the cleric stood by the contents of his sermon, and insisted that several Hadith books prohibit girls from receiving degrees and certificates in ‘secular education’.
. . . the cleric said that formal education paves the way for girls to enter the job market. “When they permit their women to work, they give them a free hand to mix with na-mehrum (men they are not related to by blood) – by doing so, the girl’s father, brother or husband become dayoos in the eye of the shariah,” he said.
Such people will never enter Paradise, he added.
The only responsibility men owe to women is their sustenance, and not education, he said. In return, the women should stay at home and look after their children and family members, he added.
He claimed that 97% of girls schools in Kohistan were closed and the few girls that were enrolled, only visited their schools to collect cooking oil which the education department was distributing with the support of foreign donors.