New Delhi: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi today asserted wearing hijab doesn’t make Muslim women any less than their peers, and it’s their constitutional right to choose to wear whatever they wish to.
“”If you come to Hyderabad, you will see the most notorious drivers are our sisters. Don’t even put your vehicle behind them…I ask my driver to be careful. If they ride pillion with them on motorcycles, they’ll understand if anyone can force them to do anything,” he said while arguing for their choice to wear the headscarf.
“Do fundamental rights stop at the gate of schools,” he added, stressing that the country’s laws grant the right to wear a hijab.
Addressing a gathering following the Supreme Court’s split verdict on the hijab ban, Mr Owaisi said Muslim women covering their heads doesn’t mean they cover their minds as well.
“They say we are threatening our girls. Who gets scared these days?” the Hyderabad MP said.
On the row over the hijab ban in Karnataka the AIMIM chief said it signals to students from other religions that Muslims are inferior.
“When a Hindu, a Sikh, and a Christian student are allowed to enter the classroom with their religious signifiers and a Muslim is stopped, what do they think of the Muslim student? Obviously, they will think Muslims are below us,” he said.
He then asserted that a hijab wearing Muslim woman will become the Prime Minister of India some day. “I have said this before and will say it again…many people got stomach ache and heartache, couldn’t sleep at night, when I said if not in my lifetime then after me a hijab wearing Muslim woman will become the Prime Minister of this country,” he said.
“This is my dream. What is wrong with it? But you are saying one should not wear hijab. Then what to wear? A bikini? You have the right to wear that as well. Why do you want that my daughters to take off their hijab and me to not keep a beard? Why do you want that Islam and Muslim culture not remain with me,” Mr Owaisi said.
He quoted Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, one of the Supreme Court judges who heard the challenge to the Karnataka hijab ban, saying if Muslim girls wear hijab indie and outside their homes, why wouldn’t they wear it in classrooms, it’s a matter of their dignity and privacy.
Challenging the BJP and it’s ideological mentor RSS, Mr Owaisi said their decisions don’t matter, and Muslim girls will keep wearing the hijab like they have been by their own choice.
“India’s constitution allows it,” he repeated, adding “you wear what you want to, and we will wear what we want”.
Petitions challenging the Karnataka hijab ban led to a split verdict in the Supreme Court on Thursday. Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the petitions, while Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia allowed them.
“There is divergence of opinion,” said Justice Gupta, who framed and answered 11 questions in his judgment for dismissing the plea. He said he agrees with the Karnataka High Court’s order.
The Karnataka High Court had refused to lift the ban on hijab – headscarves worn by some Muslim women – in schools and colleges. A Karnataka minister yesterday said the hijab ban stays valid despite the split verdict.