BMMA working to abolish oral divorce system, empower Muslim women

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To bring reforms in the Muslim personal law, and to ensure that women in the community do not suffer because of inequity, Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz, Co-founder of NGO ‘Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA)’ has worked continuously for the betterment of Mulsim women in the country. Niaz says that her organization has worked for many years at state level and it was time to focus on national issues. Helping the Muslim women is a challenge as the community is not very open about this. The family members do not allow women to come out of their homes, religious groups are also not comfortable with this but despite that her organization managed to get the involvement of a large number of Muslim women.

In fact it has been observed that it is easier to get women from weaker sections of society to get involved in outside work. The problems faced by women across the community is same, and that is lack of empowerment, financial woes, lack of education, health issues, and so on. Another major issue is that government does not listed to organized group of muslim women, and they prefer to deal with a male on behalf of this population, says Niaz. This is a totally wrong concept because women in the community who want to speak should be listened to by the government. The communalism in the country is another wedge which has divided the nation, and it has also hurt the interests of the community, and particularly the women.

The BMMA has come up with a draft Muslim family law to abolish oral divorce system and some social evils from the Muslim community. Niaz says that while forming the draft the team had consulted with men, and in every consultation the men were present, and they supported the organization in this work. Some religious groups have opposed their work, but most men supported it. The draft law is now in public domain, and people can share their opinion on it. She further says that the draft law has been formulated after discussions and hard work for the last seven years. Suggestions from leaders, scholars, activists have been fully taken into account. On the issue of higher rate of population growth among the Muslims, Niaz says that poor communities are the one which has a higher rate of population growth, and it has nothing to with any religion. Higher the rate of poverty more is the population growth, and it is time to break the myth. She also points to the fact that Muslim community has good female sex ratio as respecting the girl child is part of religion. She also rubbishes the idea of Love-Jihad calling it a myth.

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