Bangladesh bans enforced Islamic dress code

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by ajtr, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Bangladesh bans enforced Islamic dress code


    A Bangladesh court has ruled that people cannot be forced to wear skull caps, veils or other religious clothing in workplaces, schools and colleges.

    The ruling came after reports that a college in the north had forced students to wear veils.

    The high court also ruled that women cannot be prevented from taking part in sports or cultural activities.
    The court said that wearing any form of religious clothing, for students and employees, should be a personal choice.

    It has also asked the authorities to explain why it should not be made illegal to prevent girls from taking part in sports and cultural activities.

    In April this year, the court ordered schools and colleges not to force women to wear the burqa, a garment that covers the entire body except the eyes and hands.

    Mahbub Shafique, one of the lawyers who filed the latest litigation, told the BBC how this ruling goes a step further.

    "The difference between these two is that, this particular ruling today doesn't apply only on females it also applies to males as well.

    "Because any kind of religious attire is imposed, that has been declared illegal to some extent."

    The repeated interventions by the court show that these orders are likely to be ignored by most people living outside the capital Dhaka.

    Though Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority nation, most people practise a moderate version of Islam.

    In the long run, the country's politicians want the country to transform into a secular democracy rather than an Islamic republic.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Beacon of hope


    The Pioneer Edit Desk

    Bangladesh snubs Islamists

    In the midst of rising Islamist fundamentalism across the world that among other things even seeks to impose a dress code on people, a Muslim country, Bangladesh, has shown the way to reconcile the tenets of Islam with liberal attitudes. Rapping religious bigots on the knuckles, the country’s High Court recently ruled that women could not be compelled to wear burqa or for that matter any religious dress in workplaces or educational institutions. That the court should have intervened by taking suo motu notice of a report that said the principal of a college had restricted entry of girl students who turned up in the campus without a burqa, is even further evidence of the heightened sense of appreciation in the country that personal choices should not become hostage to religious diktats of mullahs. The overzealous principal will have a lot of explaining to do in the court before which he has to soon appear, for not only did he insist on the burqa but that he had also scrapped all sports and cultural activities in the institute, ostensibly because it went against the Islamic way of life. The order comes barely four months after another Bench of the High Court there had ruled that women teachers could not be forced to wear a burqa or cover their heads against their wishes, as such insistence would be violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. The denouement came in response to a public interest litigation — yet one more proof of a people rebelling against the religious hawks who want to control their lives. The latest judgement is, however, even more expansive since it covers all forms of dress code for women as well as men and directs the Government to act against the principal. In doing so the court has seen to it that the Government, too, comes in the loop and ensures protection to personal choices that neither offend nor disrupt social norms.

    The fundamentalists with the help of some hardline political elements have been desperately seeking to enforce the so-called Islamic laws in Bangladesh for some time now. Perhaps they believe that such impositions are a given in a Muslim state. But the people of that country have rebuffed the sinister designs. While the recent court orders will further strengthen liberal thinking there, they also offer a lesson to secular nation like ours that baulks at taking strong measures against Islamic fundamentalism for fear of annoying the minority community and being branded communal. Remember that only too recently students of a Muslim university in West Bengal prevented a teacher from taking classes for weeks because she refused to bow to their demand for wearing a burqa. The shocking case did not shake the conscience of the ‘secular’ State and Union Governments, who remained mute spectators for long. When Islamic countries can show courage to repudiate religious fundamentalism, why should we be so defensive?
     
  4. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Looks like what was expected out of Pakistan to emulate Mustafa Kemal's Turkey, Bangladesh just hi-jacked the title. This is good. Look at the level of militancy that rose in Bangladesh when BNP was in power and the tensions that it had with us. Its fundamentalism and soft corner for Pakistani actions is really dangerous for us and for once, I praise the Bangladeshi government to take this bold step despite being a Muslim majority country.

    India despite being a so-called secular (courtesy the bigotry of Congress) country, has yet to do this.
     

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