‘Choice between Hijab and education is injustice’

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Former Bollywood actress Zaira Wasim has said that any woman who has to decide between wearing either Hijab or pursuing her is an absolute injustice to the women in India.

“Stacking bias against Muslim women and setting up systems where they should have to decide between education and Hijab or to give up either is an absolute injustice,” Zaira Wasim wrote on Facebook.

She wrote that there is an attempt to compel them to make a very specific choice that feeds your agenda and then criticizing them while they’re imprisoned in what you’ve constructed.

“There is no other option to encourage them to choose differently. What is this if not a bias with people who confirm it acting in support of it? On top of all this, building a facade that all this is being done in the name of empowerment is even worse when it is quite exactly the opposite of that. Sad,” she wrote.

She said that the entire system where women are being stopped and harassed for merely carrying out a religious commitment.

“The inherited notion of hijab being a choice is an ill-informed one,” Zaira said.

“It’s often either a construct of convenience or ignorance. Hijab isn’t a choice but an obligation in Islam. Likewise, a woman who wears the hijab is fulfilling an obligation enjoined upon her by the God she loves and has submitted herself to.”

“I, as a woman who wears the hijab, with gratitude and humility, resent and resist this entire system where women are being stopped and harassed for merely carrying out a religious commitment.”

Zaira Wasim made her debut with Dangal, with Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra. She starred in two films after that, including Secret Superstar and The Sky Is Pink, and then announced that she would be quitting films since her acting career was at odds with her faith.

The hijab row began on January 1 after six female Muslim students at Government PU College in Udupi said they weren’t allowed to enter the college premises in hijabs.

A protest against the college authorities ensued, and in the last month, it has evolved into a full-blown controversy across the state of Karnataka.

On January 31, a writ petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court by a Muslim girl student from Udupi seeking a declaration that wearing a hijab is a fundamental right.

The matter is currently in the Karnataka High Court.

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