Bangla scholars demand ban on fatwa

In the last decade, 503 women have became the victims of fatwas.

Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 00:07 AM IST

In the last decade, 503 women have became the victims
of fatwas.
"Fatwa means legal opinion. Only court can give legal
opinions. The man who announces fatwa has no legal authority
to do it," Justice Mohammad Gholam Rabbani said referring to a
judgement he passed in 2001.

"Fatwa should be made punishable as it goes against
the existing law of our country," he said at a roundtable
titled `No more fatwa` yesterday.

14-year-old Hena Akhter was raped by her relative in
Shariatpur last month. On the next day of the incident, a
fatwa was announced at a village arbitration that she must be
given 100 lashes. She fell unconscious after whipping and was
rushed to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

In 2001 landmark judgement, Rabbani and Nazmun Ara
Sultana had declared the "legal system of Bangladesh empowers
only the courts to decide all questions relating to the legal
opinions on the Muslim and other laws as in force in
Unfortunately, the 2001 landmark judgement still
remains stayed following a Supreme Court order, Gholam Rabbani

A Dhaka University Professor Shahnaz Huda suggested
that a new provision can either be included in the penal code
or in the Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Ain to ban fatwa.

Other speakers also observed that both the Information
Commission and National Human Rights Commission can play an
important role in creating awareness among people.