Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

Imrana's case is hitting the headlines these days. For those who have not heard of Imrana, here are the salient features. Imrana accused her father-in-law of rape. The case was tried in court and the father-in-law was found guilty. So far so good. Now comes the googly. Some Muslim maulavis came up with the contention that since Imrana herself has admitted to having sex outside marriage, she is guilty of adultery and so should be divorced by her husband !

Most interesting in this matter has been the All India Muslim Personal Law Board's ( AIMPLB ) reaction to all this. A lawyer associated with AIMPLB had something of this sort to say ( Iam unable to lay my hands on the article so cannot quote ): "There is a school of thought that Imrana did not commit any crime, so no need for divorce. We support that.There is another group of people saying, she is guilty of infidelity and so should be divorced.We do not oppose that either. So it is basically upto Imrana to decide what course of action to pursue". Doesnt this just take the cake. This from the self proclaimed highest decision making body on Muslim laws in India. Just imagine if the SC had given this judgement in the Afzal case: " The Defence has shown reasonable doubt so Afzal should be acquitted. However, the Prosecution has given convincing evidence so he should be hanged. We are basically happy with whatever decision the President takes".

I have been reading up on the AIMPLB ( specifically articles by C M Naim on Outlook ). I agree with him wholeheartedly when he says the AIMPLB is a discredited body which gains its importance only from the media coverage it gets. It is not at all relevant in today's circumstances ( Its president some time back issued a statement saying contraception should not be followed as it is against Allah's wishes. When it was pointed out that Iran was successfully using this, he had some not-so-polite things to say about Iran. Seems there is something to Naim's contentions of a Shia - Sunni divide with the AIPMLB being dominated by the Sunnis)

It would be a real tragedy if the non Muslims in this country were to judge the whole Muslim community based on the ignorant comments of some AIMPLB leaders. The media has a real role to play. By giving prominence to the outdated specimens they are stifling the saner and moderate voices among Indian Muslims. Whether that is precisely the intention is another question.

There are None so Blind as Those who will not see.

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