Monday, October 30, 2006

Indian actress under fire for veil comment.

Culture: Via Times of India.

Muslim clerics lambasted Shabana Azmi after the actress said the Quran doesn't compel women to cover their faces and that it's time to debate the issue, news reports said Monday. "It has become a fashion for some Indian Muslims to criticize the teachings of the holy Quran," said Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali, a cleric at a mosque in the northern Indian city of Lucknow, according to the Press Trust of India. Other clerics were more scathing. "Who has authorized Shabana Azmi to interpret the Quran?" Asked Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the chief cleric at New Delhi's main mosque, according to the Times of India. "Her profession is to sing and dance; she has no right to mislead Muslim women." Azmi made the remarks last week in her acceptance speech after receiving the International Gandhi Peace Prize for her work in helping slum dwellers whose homes were destroyed in a cleanup drive in her home town, Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Bukhari said Azmi did not represent mainstream views within India's Muslim community. Meanwhile, some clerics have expressed support for Azmi's views. Renowned Islamic scholar Kalbe Sadiq said Sunday that Islam was against the head-to-toe coverings imposed by the Taliban fundamentalist rulers in Afghanistan. "The Quran only says that the head of a woman and a bit of her face should be covered. There is no need to cover the whole face," Sadiq was quoted as saying in The Hindustan Times newspaper. Sadiq, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a body that governs Muslim religious practices in India, said the religion stressed only that women should be modest.

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