RSS-linked Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) on Saturday called on the minority community to rise above orthodox thinking and embrace progressive ideas, saying that education is more important to its progress than wearing hijab at educational institutions. While Muslims in India have the highest illiteracy rate at 43 percent, unemployment in the community is also very high, the organization said.
“Muslims need to think about why they have the lowest literacy rate. The Muslims of India should take a progressive approach. They need to understand that they need a book, not a hijab. They should rise above orthodox thinking and focus on education and progress,” MRM national chairman and spokesman Shahid Sayeed told PTI. Only 2.75 percent of the total Muslim population in India has a degree or higher education. Of them, the percentage of women is only 36.65 percent. The dropout rate among Muslims is highest and the dropout rate of girls in rural areas is higher than that of boys, he said.
“We have to think about why we have such a low percentage of graduates when the population of Muslims in the country is at least 20 crore,” he said. Whether it is the public sector or the private sector, the representation of Muslims in the labor market is much less, he said. “And this is not because of any bias against the members of the minority community. When a community has such a low percentage of college graduates and a higher drop in rates, it’s clear that its members are lagging behind,” he added. The MRM Covenant said scrapping triple talaq and its criminalization during the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has liberated Muslim women from the pain of this age-old practice.
“This is the law of self-respect and dignity of Muslim women. Today much has changed in their condition. Since the law came into effect, a large number of Muslim women have received aid. People give their families the right to a dignified life,” he said. He claimed that Muslim girls, youth and women are progressive today, but that the “fanatics and so-called religious leaders” want them to remain in the shackles of orthodoxy and bigotry.
“Religion is something to keep in your heart, not to show off. If a Muslim man or woman is in the Indian Army, their dress code should not include kurta pajamas or hijab. Likewise, every school or university has its own dress code and we must follow it,” he said. Amid feuds over hijab, the MRM has rolled out a week-long campaign for community harmony to mark the birthday of RSS founder and national executive member Indresh Kumar on Feb. 18. “During the campaign, MRM activists will be our founder and chief’s message of peace, harmony, brotherhood and inclusion to community members,” he said.
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