Shehla Come back on Facebook
By – Rahman Abbas
Former JNUSU vice-president and well-known student activist Shehla Rashid was reportedly forced to deactivate her Facebook account , as some Muslim youths issued multiple rape threats and hate messages to her. Shehla’s crime was to speak in support of freedom of interfaith marriages and to raise the issue of the right of Muslim women to choose a partner. Shehla had raised this issue in the backdrop of the recent murder of Ankit Saxena in Delhi allegedly by the Muslim girlfriend’s family. In addition, Shehla had referred to the Hadiya case and stated that if Muslim girls are not allowed to marry a non-Muslim of her choice, then they lose the moral authority to fight the ruckus created by RSS over so-called love-jihad.
In another post, Shehla had stated that when we insist that Hadiya be treated as an adult, as an individual who has constitutional rights, let’s uphold the same standard for all adult Muslim women regardless of who they love or marry.
Shehla Rasheed has said what she believes in and that is the freedom one enjoys in a democratic setup. She has neither said anything unconstitutional or sacrilegious. In the Hadiya case, everybody except right-wing fanatics were speaking in support of Hadiya’s freedom to choose a partner. While a majority of Muslims remain silent in their response to the report that Ankit Saxena was allegedly killed by the family of his girlfriend, this silent majority believes exactly the way Hindu right-wing fanatics believe that a girl cannot marry outside her faith.
Right-wingers on both sides have tried to snatch the freedom of women in the name of faith and religious beliefs. Moreover, in the public domain, the issue was taken as a tussle between what fanatics want versus the Constitution of India and basic human rights. Shehla has appropriately compared both the cases and demanded equal rights and freedom for women to choose a partner or lover beside or outside the faith of her family. She has spoken in favor of the fundamental rights and about the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
Shamefully, a bunch of fanatic Muslim youths have abused her online and threatened her with rape. The filthy, uncultured and venomous language used by these youths is criminal, and not only is this, an insult to women but it’s also a blatant disrespect of the teachings of Islam. The patriarchal mindset here has loudly humiliated and attempted to affect the modesty of a girl but the system won’t take action by itself because it has been a blind and mute spectator.
As a friend, I know Shehla Rasheed cannot be dominated by these criminal threats. I can also understand her pain and distress, but again I will urge her soon to come back on Facebook as a warrior against the communal forces and the fanatics alike. The youths who have abused her have shown their ugly mindset. We all have to fight this inhuman psyche and Shehla, you are the strongest to fight it, expose it, and defeat it.
Shehla had stressed that if we do not make room for love, we deserve to be ruled by hatred. Right now, she has been forced by the hatemongers to deactivate her Facebook account, and if she doesn’t return, it will result in the victory of hatred.
To defeat hate we all have to ask Shehla to come back to fight and reclaim the lost space of love.