Minority Commission issues notice to MES prez on 'niqab' row

The Kerala State Minority Commission today issued notice to Muslim Education Society (MES) president Dr P A Fazal Gafoor, who had stoked a controversy saying 'niqab' or veil used by Muslim women to cover their faces, is 'unislamic'.

Kozhikode: The Kerala State Minority Commission today issued notice to Muslim Education Society (MES) president Dr P A Fazal Gafoor, who had stoked a controversy saying 'niqab' or veil used by Muslim women to cover their faces, is 'unislamic'.

Commission chairman, advocate M Veerankutty said Gafoor's statement was against the interests of the Muslim minority community and a complaint in this regard had been received by the Commission.

Gafoor has been asked to reply within seven days, failing which further proceedings would be initiated, he said.

Addressing a function of MES Golden jubilee celebrations here some days back, Gafoor had said the 'niqab', part of the 'purdah', was a western import and its prolonged use blocks sunlight, resulting in Vitamin D deficiency in many Muslim women.

"I am against Niquab. Lots of Muslim organisations are also against it," Dr Gafoor said reacting to the notice.

He said he would forward the a copy of the letter sent by the state commission to the National Human Rights Commission to find out if it warrants a reply.

"This is not Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. This is India where there is freedom of speech.I have all the right to speak against the custom," he said, adding, "we may have differing views on various matters. But we have the freedom to express our opinion."

"Covering of face cannot be considered as Islamic. Nowhere in Islam is it stated that faces should be covered," he had said at the function here.

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