Muslim education group head receives 'death threats' for banning face-veils
The head of Muslim Education Society (MES), based in Kerala's Kozhikode, said he received "death threats" after banning face veils on its campuses. MES, which runs a number of educational institutions, issued a circular in April banning students from attending classes wearing face-covering attires. MES said women's face veils were a new trend, and not in practice in the community in Kerala earlier.
Received phone call threatening to kill me: MES President
"I received a phone call from a mobile on Friday, threatening to kill me. It was a male voice and he used very harsh, threatening and demeaning words on me," said MES President PA Fazal Ghafoor in his police complaint. "He seemed to be very agitated and furious over the issuance of circular banning face veil in MES institutions," Ghafoor said.
Make sure to implement the directive without creating controversy: Circular
In a circular dated April 17, addressed to secretaries and principals of MES institutions, Ghafoor said the dress code directive should be implemented "without creating any controversy" from the new academic year. "Without creating any controversy, the institutions must make sure to implement from 2019-20 academic year that students do not come to the class wearing any attire covering their face," the circular said.
Will not allow students, teachers to cover their faces: Ghafoor
Even amid demands for withdrawing the directive, Ghafoor said, "According to the High Court order all managements retain their right to decide on dress code. We will not allow students or teachers to cover their faces with face veil from the coming academic year."
Covering face isn't inherent to culture in Kerala: Ghafoor
"Covering the face is not inherent to the culture in Kerala, the tradition, and practices of faith followed here," Ghafoor told NDTV. "Students cannot even be recognized with their face veils nor can students follow the teachers... if they wear face veil. If any other Muslim organizations have issues with this decision, they can allow for face veils in institutions under them," he added.
We have the freedom to ban such attires: Ghafoor
"We have the freedom to ban such attires on our campuses. There is no need to consult with religious outfits for that," said Ghafoor. He said MES cannot implement dress codes imposed in the name of "religious fundamentalism".
Orthodox Muslim scholars' organization criticizes MES over its circular
Samastha, an orthodox Muslim scholars' organization, criticized the MES over the dress code circular, terming it "un-Islamic". "As per the Islamic rules, the body parts of women should not be shown out. The MES has no right to issue a circular banning the attire covering the face of women. Islamic rules should be followed," Umar Faize, a Samastha scholar, said.