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Kerala High Court judge’s remarks on Sharia draw ire

Justice Kemal Pasha had said that Muslim women were being deprived of their rights enshrined in Islam. File photo | The Hindu
Provisions in the Muslim Personal Law are against women, he had said.

Remarks by Justice B. Kemal Pasha, a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court, at a seminar in Kozhikode early this week on the Muslim Personal Law, have re-triggered discussions on Islamic Sharia, while sparking off vocal protests from Muslim organisations across the political and ideological divides.

The protesters have come out in unison against what they allege are attempts to amend the Muslim Personal Law, deeming it to be discriminatory against women.

The judge said Muslim women were being deprived of the rights enshrined in Islam and that many provisions of the Muslim Personal Law were against women. As such, it was unfair to oppose the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Even the Supreme Court was “reluctant” to interfere in the subject, Justice Pasha had observed.

Suprabhatham, a Malayalam daily run by the Sunni group of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyathul Ulama identified with Islamic cleric E.K. Aboobacker Musaliar, in an editorial, lashed out at the judge’s remarks, saying that they would only help to strengthen the apologists of UCC.

What Justice Pasha thinks about inheritance and divorce rights of women is not different from what the RSS conceives and it struck at the very existence of Muslims, it maintained.

Shaikh Muhammed Karakunnu, Assistant Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Kerala, said Justice Pasha had touched upon two topics adopted by the Sharia. “Polygamy is very much inevitable at times considering the humanitarian factor. Who will marry a young widow whose husband died in the Kargil war or who has met with a fatal accident, and provide for their children,” he asked.

Kerala Naduvathul Mujahideen State president T.P. Abdulla Madani, general secretary P.P. Unneerkutty, and Kerala Jameyathul Ulama secretary M. Mohammed Moulavi warned that any attempts to dissect the Islamic Sharia through the prism of modernism would have far-reaching ramifications.

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