State Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan
State Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan

Arif Mohammad Khan, the governor of Kerala, says the discussion over a hijab is not a controversy, but a plot to undermine Muslim women. Religion and education do not conflict, he said. In Islam, religion is a means for men to attain enlightenment. Moreover, he mentioned that the hijab is also a necessary tradition in Islam, which is why Article 25 should be protected.

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In reference to the Supreme Court judgment, the Governor, from Uttar Pradesh, said that any aspect that would be protected under Article 25 would have to be necessary, intrinsic, and non-violent. It must become integral to practice.

This Hijab controversy started in Udupi, Karnataka last month when students protested the ban. In protest against this, other students began wearing saffron scarves to college. The conflict quickly spread across the state. Several demonstrations and harassment were held against Muslim girls, forcing the state to curtail education temporarily and call for peace from the court.

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Several students are contesting the ban on wearing the hijab before the Karnataka High Court under the principle of religious freedom.

Islam’s religious books describe in detail what is required, according to Governor Khan. There are five essential features of these, which are called Arkan-e-Islam. Those who have the means should affirm their faith through Kalima, pray at regular intervals, fast during Ramadan, give to charitable causes, and make the Hajj if they can afford it. They said no additions or deletions were allowed.

In order to determine whether this (Hijab) is a part of religious freedom, the Supreme Court has ruled that only those elements that are essential to the practice of the faith are protected under Article 25. The hijab is certainly not among them.

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He said it is the result of complete ignorance that the hijab is banned in educational institutions, affecting the education of girls and women. In pointing out that the first word in the Qur’an is “read”, he said that human beings should not just rely on reading the name of God. In quoting relevant passages, he said that man was supposed to think about animals, stars, and space, and if needed, go to China to search for knowledge. The Qur’an contains over 700 words expressing knowledge, thinking, and meditation. Religion is concerned with seeking knowledge.

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As far as the hijab controversy in Karnataka that has raged for over a month is concerned, it is part of a “sinister conspiracy” to push back Muslim women. After the triple talaq ban, he says, Muslim women feel liberated. It gives them a sense of independence. She is getting an education. She is making a huge career and now there is a conspiracy.

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