Rights activists and educationists have demanded government action against Bangladesh Qoumi Madrassah Education Board chairman Shah Ahmad Shafi for his derogatory remarks about women education.
They say Shafi’s comments go against the spirit of the liberation war, constitution and government’s policy of empowering women and demand that Shafi should be tried for his one after another insulting comments on women.
Islamic clerics have termed Shafi’s call for not sending girls to schools after grade five his personal and not reflecting the spirit of Islam.
Addressing the annual meeting (Mahfil), organised by Darul Ulum Muinul Islam madrassah, Hathazari, Chattogram on January 11, Hefazet-e-Islam top leader Ahmad Shafi said, ‘Please don’t send your daughters to schools. You can allow them to study up to Class IV or V so that they can count their husband’s money and write letters. If you let them study beyond that — up to Class IX, X, MA and BA — they would be no more your daughters. You have been seeing all these in newspapers. Other people would snatch her away.’
Shafi should be punished as his remarks go against the spirit of the country’s liberation war, basic principles of the constitution and the incumbent government’s efforts of empowering the women in society and ensuring gender equality, Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee president Shahriar Kabir told New Age on Saturday.
‘He has been continuously making derogative remarks about women but was not punished. He had earlier threatened to pull down the government and termed the government atheist. But, the hypocrite [Shafi] at the same time honoured the prime minister last year after getting government recognition of qoumi education,’ Shahriar said.
‘How come Shafi make such comment when the government has remarkable achievements in the global index of women education and empowerment? He must be removed from the post of chairman of Qoumi Madrassah Education Board as the government recognised it,’ he demanded.
Campaign for Popular Education executive director Rasheda K Chowdhury demands specific statement from the government on the issue.
‘When the PM is a women and the education minister is a women, we expect the government to give a specific statement on his remarks about women education. The government cannot ignore it as the government has recognised Qoumi Madrassah Education Board last September and Shafi is its chairman,’ she says.
Popular author and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal says, ‘People will not accept what Shafi has said. And he will become an unacceptable and controversial person in society for making such stupid comment at a time when they are voluntarily sending their daughters to educational institutes.’
He, however, does not think the government will take any action as it happened before.
‘I don’t know what the government will do but I personally condemn Shafi’s remark,’ Dhaka University professor Muntasir Mamoon says.
Earlier Shafi compared women with tamarind for which he became infamous as ‘Tentul Huzur’.
Famous Islamic cleric and also Qoumi Madrassah Education Law Review Committee co-chairman Maulana Farid Uddin Masud termed Ahmad Shafi’s remarks his personal.
‘I don’t know anything like this and I never read anything stating Islam imposes restriction on women education,’ Farid Uddin tells New Age.
Islamic Foundation director general Shamim Mohammad Afzal said he did not know in which context Shafi said so.
‘Bibi Ayesha (Ra) is the source of 2210 hadith, which is one third of the total available hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (SM). Both women and men will take education,’ he says.
Discussants at a programme organised by Sammilita Samajik Andolan on Saturday at its central office in Shahbagh wanted Shafi to apologise to the nation for his remarks on women education.
Dhaka University’s professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, DU professor Robaet Ferdous, Samajik Andolan’s presidium member Pankaj Bhattacharya, among others were present at the programme.
In separate written statements Naripakkha and Samajtantrik Mahila Forum protested at Shafi’s derogative remarks and demanded his punishment.
Azizul Haque Islamabadi, organising secretary of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh, claimed that Maulana Shafi was partially quoted with ill motives.
The newly appointed deputy minister of education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury described Shafi’s remarks against women’s education as ‘personal’.
Education minister Dipu Moni could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.
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