New Delhi: The country’s largest Muslim socio-religious organization, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has condemned Press Council of India chief Markandey Katju’s statement on Sharia Law, which he termed as barbaric and degrading for women in his recent blog post.
Eliciting his views on Muslim Personal Law, Mr. Katju had written that, “at least 60% Muslims oppose the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat). About 50% Muslims are women. Almost all of them are opposed to shariat.” He advocated for a Uniform Civil Code in the country.
JIH said Mr. Katju’s statement is unjustified, improper and emotive and asked him as to how Uniform Civil Code could be just for a multi-religion and multi-culture country like India of over one billion people.
Opining that most Muslims oppose the Sharia law, Mr. Katju asked “can any just, modern minded and fair person support such a barbaric law which prescribes stoning to death ( as was done recently in Somalia ) for adultery, or cutting off a thief’s limbs ? I refuse to believe that there are no just, modern minded and fair males in the Muslim community ( even if they be in the minority ).”
In a media statement on Thursday, Mr. Nusrat Ali, Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said that some statements of former Supreme Court judge Katju are “indeed useful, reasonable and moderate.” But it seems that “from his days in judiciary, he has held one-sided, illogical and unjustified viewpoint about Muslim Personal Law.”
“He has once again expressed this view and thus has not only hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community and millions of other fellow countrymen but also raked up an impracticable, useless and unnecessary debate,” said Ali.
The Jamaat leader further said that Mr. Katju has described the Muslim Personal Law as barbaric and backward. This is completely against facts. By making such statement, he seems to have fallen prey to the conspiracy for distorting the history of Islam. Personalities of his stature should save themselves from the conspiracy.
The Jamaat has challenged Mr. Katju to analyse just last one year’s data about crimes against women like brutalities, domestic violence, murder, rape and sexual harassment etc. and he “will surely know the truth that Muslim women are least affected and they are happily living under Muslim Personal Law.”
“Yet, if some Muslim women have faced violence and injustice it is not because of Muslim Personal Law but the weaknesses of the Muslim society. A responsible person and expert like Mr. Katju should understand the difference,” said Jamaat leader.
Mr. Umar Shariff, president of Discover Islam Education Trust (DIET) and spokesperson for the Bangalore based human rights group, Mission Possible for Justice and Rights (MPJR) asked, “If ‘Muslim Personal Law’ is termed as ‘barbaric’ by Justice Markandey Katju, then we conclude that he has violated the Indian Constitution by attacking the sentiments of the religious values of one section of India’s populace. Since he is supposed to be a learned man of the Indian Law, could he very well tell us the article under which we can file a case against him?”
Responding to criticism against his remarks, Mr. Katju said, “some people have sought to infer from my recent criticism of Muslim Personal Law that I am against Muslims or Islam. This is totally incorrect. Many of my best friends are Muslims, and I respect all religions including Islam, as I have repeatedly said. I am totally secular.”