A gender-neutral oath by Kudumbashree irks Islamic outfits: Kerala

The portion of the pledge that stated that a female member of a family should have equal property rights over her father's property, was opposed by the Nasar Faizi Koodathayi, a prominent leader of Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyathul Qutba Committee

Representative image. Credit: PTI File Photo  Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/gender-neutral-oath-of-kudumbashree-irks-islamic-scholar-in-kerala-1168146.htmlRepresentative image | PTI File Photo

An ‘Islamic scholar’ has spoken out against an oath administered to the volunteers of Kudumbashree, an all-women network under the Kerala government, as part of its gender equality campaign claiming some portions of it violated religious freedom and goes against the principles of Quran/Sharia. The portion of the pledge that a female member of a family should have equal property rights over her father’s property, did not go down well with Nasar Faizi Koodathayi, a prominent leader of Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyathul Qutba Committee, an influential Islamic body.

The oath is part of a circular, issued by the district coordinator of the Kudumbashree Mission, the poverty eradication mission of the state government, to administer during its gender resource meetings. The Kudumbashree Mission is a widely acclaimed state government initiative that has autonomously involved large sections of Kerala’s woman population.

“We will provide equal rights for both male and female over the property,” the circular said among other things. Taking strong exception to this, Nasar Koodathayi said the pledge was against the fundamental rights of religious freedom granted by the Constitution.

In a recent Facebook post, he also said the state government has been organising various commendable projects through Kudumbashree as part of the gender campaign conducted by the Union Ministry of Rural Development. However, some elements among them amounted to violating the fundamental rights of religious freedom, he claimed.

“There is a proposal (in the circular) to take a pledge in the gender resource meeting in Kudumbashree during the fourth week. In the last portion of the pledge, it asks women members to say: We will give property rights to sons and daughters equally,” he said.

He went on to claim that as per the Holy Quran, a man has a share of property equal to that of two women and the female member has been allowed half of what a male member gets from father’s property. This, however, could not be considered as a discrimination as the man has the ‘complete responsibility’ of looking after the family, the scholar further said. Those who allege discrimination in this was not seeing the expenses that the male member has to bear, he added.

The Kudumbashree circular “negating fundamental rights of religion and Constitution as part of gender neutrality” would surely invite protests, the scholar also stated. This is not the first time that Koodathayi has invited controversy –he had recently triggered a row over his remarks against the football craze among youth.

Quick to jump in, the state BJP state K Surendran had cited the reports about the pledge’s suspension and said it proved fundamentalist forces were controlling the administration of the state.



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