BANGLADESH: Arrest Shafi, Says Women's Forum

Saturday, July 13, 2013
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

Bangladesh Nari Mukti Sangsad in a statement on Saturday said ‘Shafi in his remarks have disrespected and offended women'.

“For this, he should be arrested and brought to justice immediately,” said a statement signed by the rights body's Presdient Hajera Sultana and General Secretary Saleha Sultana.

Shafi was criticised by most people after a video clip of his sermon at Chittagong's Hathazari was circulated on social media.

The Hifazat chief had opposed the National Women Policy, including education and employment for women, and what he described as 'public mixing of sexes'.

Shafi, Director General of the Hathazari Madrasa, had spoken of restrictions on what women wear, insisting they should stay at home and take care of children. He also denounced birth control measures.

Critics said Shafi's remarks were downright offensive.

Seventeen personalities, gathered on the ‘Bangladesh Rukhe Darao' platform, dubbed his remarks ‘indecent' that betrayed his ‘perverse mentality'.

The signatories included Professor Anisuzzaman, Prof Sirajul Islam Chowdhury, Akbar Ali Khan, Ajay Roy, Qaiyum Chowdhury, Poet Syed Shamsul Haque, Anwara Syed Haque, Kamal Lohani, Ramendu Majumder, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Sarwar Ali, Ziauddin Tarek Ali, Advocate Rana Dasgupta, Syed Monjurul Islam, Abed Khan, Nasimun Ara Haque and MM Akash.

Joining ranks with scores of those who flayed Shafi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said that the Hifazat chief's sermons were 'disgusting' and 'distasteful'.

Convenor of the women cell of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) Laxmi Chakrabarty in another media release said Ahmad Shafi had proved that Hifazat-e Islam wanted to keep women confined like in medieval times.

Meanwhile, a Chittagong-based Islamist group said Ahmad Shafi was leading Islam and women into a conflict through his sermons.

Leaders of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat at an Iftar programme on Saturday said, “Islam has given the true respect, rights and freedom. Women's security and rights will not be threatened anywhere if the directives of Islam are properly followed.”

“But the followers of ‘Wahabi-Jamaati', with their distorted view of Islam, are maligning Islam and condemning women in a bid to embroil Islam and women in a conflict.”