Battles in the basti

Muslim women opposing triple talaq, polygamy face attack, but are fighting back.

Written by Javed Anand | Published:November 7, 2016 1:12 am
triple talaq, muslim talaq, muslim divorce, ban triple talaq, triple talaq ban, concept of triple talaq, what is triple talaq, muslim women panel, supreme court, sc on triple talaq, supreme court triple talaq, aimwplb, aimwplb petition, indian express news, india news Tahera Apa faces the heat for demanding Muslim personal law be reformed.

In the ten years I’ve known her, she’s never been like this. Between her “Assalam-o-Alaikum, bhai” and what follows, there’s barely a moment’s gap. “Main do teen din se bahut pareshan hoon. Aap ko phone karne wali thee,” (I’ve been very disturbed over the last few days. I was planning to call you), says Tahera Apa.

What’s causing her pain is what’s causing pain to many Muslim women these days; the “Islam in danger” cry raised by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). Just about every Muslim religious body and Muslim leaders across the political spectrum — left parties excluded — have joined the chorus. Be ready to sacrifice your life to save the Shariah, Muslims are being enjoined inside mosques and in Muslim mohallas across the country. Anyone opposing the countrywide signature campaign launched by the Board to resist any “interference” in Muslim personal law is projected as an “enemy of Islam”.

In the belief that they’re defending “Allah’s law”, Muslim men and women are signing up. “They’re even collecting signatures from young children,” report Muslim women activists. Some Muslims who know their Islam better are refusing to sign, publicly asserting that triple talaq, halala marriage and polygamy must be banned. Tahera Apa is one of them.

No maulvi has it in him to cow down Tahera Apa. So they conceive a devious scheme. They’ve been working on her son, brainwashing him into believing his mother is anti-Islam. In consequence, son, mother and the rest of the family have spent several sleepless nights. “Kal ko aapki Islam mukhalif mahila mandal masjid tudwane ki bhee baat karegi. Aap chodo yeh kaam.” (“Tomorrow your anti-Islam mahila mandal will even talk of demolishing mosques. You leave this work)”, the anguished son has been arguing with his mother. There is no way Tahera Apa will give up her activism. But a threat her son hurls torments her, “If you don’t leave the mahila mandal, I’ll immolate myself with my children.” What if, in some dark moment, he acted on his threat?

What comes to the rescue is a little pocket book, a compilation of verses from the Quran on gender relations. Reading them gives the son an idea of Islam that is very different from what the ulema have been telling Muslims. It cools him down, for now at least.

Tahera Apa is not the only Muslim woman facing the heat for demanding that the “inhuman, unjust, anti-women and un-Islamic” Muslim personal law in India be reformed, as it’s been in over 20 Muslim-majority countries. Burqa-clad Zeenat Apa, from another basti in Mumbai, seethes as she narrates what Abu Asim Azmi, the Samajwadi Party MLA, reportedly said at a public meeting, “Agar chaar shadiyaan nahi karenge to kya hamari bewa auraton ko kothe pe bithayenge?” (If we’re prohibited from marrying four women, should we send our widows to brothels?). Azmi later “clarified” that he was only talking of women from his family, not Muslim women in general.

A few days later, Muslim women from Zeenat Apa’s basti who were running a counter-signature campaign supporting reforms were jostled and abused by a group of men. “Since then, even women who want triple talaq, halala and polygamy to go have been bullied into signing in the Board’s support,” she says.

But at a gathering of 25 Muslim women from across Mumbai, the mood is upbeat. “Deen aur dastoor dono hamaare haq mein hai. Hum ladenge, hum peechay nahin hatenge.” (Both the Quran and the Constitution are on our side. We will fight, we will not withdraw), they asserted with confidence. Of course, Tahera Apa was there.

The writer is general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy, and co-editor, ‘Communalism Combat’

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  1. A
    Amar Akbar
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:39 pm
    Terror in Mumbai a TV show by Farid Zakaria features exclusive audio tapes of the intercepted phone calls between the young gunmen and their controllers in stan, Live TV footage of NDTV by Barkha, and testimony from the sole surviving gunman. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The phone intercepts provide a grotesque running commentary as the controllers, watching events unfold on live TV NDTV\'s Barkha Dutt, direct the gunmen, Barkha telling them where the security forces are, and they saying which of their hostages should be kiIIed and how to do it. With the kiIIers wounded and asking what to do next, the tapes reveal the controllers calmly urging them to fight to the daeth and not allow themselves to be taken alive. Now Barkha Dutt got paid to give them live moments of army through NDTV.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sirius
      Nov 7, 2016 at 3:55 pm
      What is the stand of the author of article ? We all know where AIMPLB and BMMA stand ...
      Reply
      1. J
        John Joseph
        Nov 7, 2016 at 10:48 pm
        I am tired of Muslims telling me Islam is the religion of equality. Then allow a Muslim women the same right to give you triple talaq. Give the Muslim women the same right to have multiple husbands or lovers. How can the male MCP can slave the women?
        Reply
        1. A
          Amar Akbar
          Nov 7, 2016 at 10:45 pm
          Terror in Mumbai a TV show by Farid Zakaria features exclusive audio tapes of the intercepted phone calls between the young Muslim gunmen and their Sunni controllers in stan, Live TV footage of NDTV by Barkha, and testimony from the sole surviving Sunni gunman. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The phone intercepts provide a grotesque running commentary as the Muslim controllers, watching events unfold on live TV NDTV\'s Barkha Dutt, direct the Sunni gunmen, Barkha telling them where the security forces are, and they Sunni controllers saying which of their hostages should be kiIIed and how to do it. With the kiIIers wounded and asking what to do next, the tapes reveal the Muslim controllers calmly urging them to fight to the daeth and not allow themselves to be taken alive.Now Barkha Dutt is exposed with NDTV.
          Reply
          1. D
            David Soloman
            Nov 7, 2016 at 6:21 am
            The problem is that all those conditions that prepare a Muslim to become a terrorist are also caused by the Quran. These conditions are not cultural, ethnic, political or economical. They are religious. The hatred of the Jews and the non-Muslims has its roots in the Quran. Most of the crises that Muslim youth face, like lack of opportunity and loss of hope are also the result of the failure of Islam in solving the real problems of Muslims and particularly the youth
            Reply
            1. P
              Pulkit
              Nov 7, 2016 at 9:02 pm
              AIMPLB speaks the same language as BJP.
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              1. A
                Anti-corruption
                Nov 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm
                here the issue is, if In-dian govt take any action in abolishing triple ta-laq, the ill-trate m--uslims will consider it as a-nti-mus--lim plan of m--odi bh--akts... So, let them live in their own h--ell, if the triple ta--laq makes them happy, so be it.
                Reply
                1. A
                  Archpagan
                  Nov 7, 2016 at 2:16 pm
                  But I am sure these rebel women will not vote for the BJP.
                  Reply
                  1. T
                    tipu
                    Nov 7, 2016 at 6:10 am
                    (Both the Quran and the Consution are on our side. We will fight, we will not withdraw)lt;br/gt;I want to hear that verse of quran.lt;br/gt;Trippe talaq once done no longer husband and wife can live together. lt;br/gt;As long as POLYGAMY is concerned it is allowed but not compulsory, it is also advised in quran to marry ONE.lt;br/gt;If polygamy is banned NO problem.
                    Reply
                    1. B
                      Balaji
                      Nov 7, 2016 at 3:06 am
                      One should believe in humanity. Flexibility in Religion, law and consution should be there. What human thinks correct at a given point of time may not be same at other point of time. You see the incarnations of God in Hindu Religion. It tells the story. Character in Ram is in totally reverse way with Lord Krishna. Changes is not a crime if it suits the current age demand. That is the only just way in the life.
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        jay desouza
                        Nov 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm
                        Thanks Javaedbhai for writing for the victims in society, and against male chauvinists pigs. These MCPs are trying to keep their power over women under the garb of religion. All readers please support the victims (and their supporters) in this war against religious monsters.
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                        1. C
                          C V
                          Nov 7, 2016 at 1:53 am
                          The blogger has conveniently forgotten to write which side he is on.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            khaja
                            Nov 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm
                            Javed Anand has gone crazy like his name, who is Tehera Apa ? where he caught another half baked, if they are really interested to know about Shariah let them contact Muslim Personal Law Board or read Quran by themselves to understand the importance of Shariah. Not simply put their views and comments without knowing the subject.
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                              Ananth
                              Nov 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm
                              Why should they all fight. Let us have a common civic law and address all these issue quickly and find proper readdress.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Manju
                                Nov 7, 2016 at 6:36 am
                                Folks let us celebrate sacrifices of a very community, which a just 1.7% of Indian potion and declining in India. SIKHS... I DAILY SEE YOUNG MEN FOR THIS COMMUNITY DYING FOR INDIA. I SEE THEIR FAMILIES SUFFERING PROPERTY LOSS BY STANI FIRING. Sikh potion is what we call statistically insignificant. I HAVE NEVER HEARD SIKHS DEMANDING ANY SPECIAL PRIVILEGE BECUASE THEY ARE SIKHS. On other hand, I see on every chennel Muslims demanding 4 wives and instant authority to replace anyone in a second for being Muslim. Muslims claim they are 20 percent of Indian potion and deserve special privileges for being a muslim in indialt;br/gt;HOWEVER UNLIKE SIKHS, I HAVE NEVER HEARD LATELY A MUSLIM DYING FOR INDIA. Well I salute our brothers and HEROS.. SIKHS. This amese bengali will never ever crack a sikh joke.
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                                1. N
                                  Niladrinath Mohanty
                                  Nov 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm
                                  Javedbhai after all is a progressive. After reading two of his articles recently I have changed my impression about him.
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                                    Muniza Khan
                                    Nov 9, 2016 at 6:10 pm
                                    Shame on Muslim fundamentalists and attackers. This is not 1986 of Shahbano time, we are in 2016. Triple talaq at one sitting ( talaq-e bidda) should stop. Majority of Muslim women are demanding to abolished it as this is un-Islamic too. We condemned this attack.
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                                    1. M
                                      murty
                                      Nov 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm
                                      The secular media is mum on this issue.when it comes to Hindu beliefs they write thousands of pages in articles and hours together the discussion on the subject how cruel Hindus .no guts to comment by communists on this.
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                                      1. R
                                        Raja
                                        Nov 7, 2016 at 4:46 am
                                        This kind of article is basically an act in prolixity, for it has little impact on the mes, who are governed by the opinions of the high priests in the Islamic society. Interestingly enough, the author studiously avoids talking about those priests.
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                                        1. R
                                          Raaz
                                          Nov 7, 2016 at 11:12 am
                                          Muslim leaders and men are not like pliant and soft Hindus. I am very much confident that no reforms will be allowed by Muslims. I wonder where the Left leaders who are always vociferous in condemning anything related to Hindus are hiding now
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                                          1. R
                                            Rohini
                                            Nov 7, 2016 at 12:37 am
                                            This is simply outrageous. Where are the progressives and the left liberals? why are they not out supporting these women with strong op-eds condeming the efforts of the AIMPLB? lt;br/gt;The only thing apprent to me is that women like Tehreen are 'orphans' in this country - the 'liberals' wont speak for them for fear of falling out of favour of the varius factions that hold htem up - how can one speak against Islam ic practices and still ne considered 'liberal'?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;And this is what is going to do India in - the fear of main stream media to call a spade a spade. All reporting today focussed ONLY on portraying MOdi's govt as fascist. There is no concern for the probllems of people like the woman in this article. The outrage something like this should generate is simply missing. lt;br/gt;MSM is a spent force - totally useless.
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