BMMA seeks ban on triple talaq, accuses AIMPLB of ‘misinformation’

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Mumbai, April 2 (IANS) Reiterating its demand for the law banning ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan on Monday condemned the All India Muslim Personal Law Board for “spreading misinformation” on these issues.

Two days after a massive Muslim women’s rally taken out by AIMPLB’s women’s wing here, BMMA co-founder Zakia Soman said that orthodox and patriarchal males have dominated the debate on rights of Muslim women and stonewalled attempts towards reforms in the Muslim personal laws.

“Recent ‘women marches’ organised by these groups show how they have brazenly instrumentalized women and used them against their own legal protection. They are responsible for the biggest disservice to not just Muslim women but also to Islam,” she said.

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Soman accused these groups of not spreading awareness about women’s equality based on the Quran, but instead indulging in rampant misinterpretations supporting ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy.

“While the rest of the Muslim world has reformed laws and ensured legal rights of women, the Indian Muslim clerics have kept Quranic rights away from women. Their resistance to change has only added to the anti-Muslim rhetoric,” she said, noting the Supreme Court has set aside ‘triple talaq’ in its historic judgement last August, but issues like ‘nikah halala’, polygamy, age of marriage, custody of children, share in property, etc, remain to be addressed.

While women’s rights in these matters are clearly protected by Quranic injunctions as the Constitutional provisions, the patriarchial dominance by orthodox forces lead to women being denied justice, Soman said.

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The women continue to approach the courts for justice though the situation can be resolved through a comprehensive codified Muslim family law, based on the Quran and in consonance with the Constitutional principles of justice and equality, as a longterm solution, she said, noting a majority of Muslim countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have codified personal laws governing marriage and family matters, but Indian Muslims are still denied their Quranic rights and protection of law.

Soman said that research conducted in 2015 by BMMA revealed that 92.1 percent Muslim women wanted a total ban on oral/unilateral divorces, 91.7 percent opposed polygamy, and 83.3 percent sought codification of Muslim family law to secure justice and dignity.

“The government must listen to the voice of progressive Muslim womena It has so far not heeded the amendments that BMMA has demanded in the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, passed by the Lok Sabhaa The BMMA has already presented an amended version with nine points, to the government,” she said.

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