Those who select Muslim women to run for office are against Islam and are weakening the religion, the chief cleric of the Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad said on Sunday, in a stunningly misogynistic comment, a day before the second phase of voting for the Gujarat elections.
“If you talk about Islam, see there’s nothing more important in this religion than namaz. Did you see any women here reading the namaz? If it were okay for women in Islam to come in front of everyone, they wouldn’t have been stopped from doing so,” Shabbir Ahmed Siddiqui told news agency ANI.
“They are stopped from coming to mosques to read the namaz because women have a particular position in Islam. That’s why, those who give election tickets to Muslim women, are rebelling against Islam,” the Shahi Imam said.
“Are there no men left that you are bringing in women? This weakens our religion. Weakens how? If you make your women MLAs and councillors, we won’t be able to defend the hijab,” he said, referencing the controversy in Karnataka over the headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
#WATCH | Those who give election tickets to Muslim women are against Islam, weakening the religion. Are there no men left?: Shabbir Ahmed Siddiqui, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad#Gujaratpic.twitter.com/5RpYLG7gqW
— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2022
Entirely unaware of the gross sexism in his statements, he continued, grinning and seeking validation, “To fight elections, one must meet people door-to-door, both Hindus and Muslims… Therefore, I am staunchly against it. You can give election tickets to men.”
“The reason they are giving tickets to women is that these days women have a greater say in things. So if you take women in, the entire family will come in too. I can see no other reason than this,” Mr Siddiqui said.
The cleric’s fundamentalist rant comes a day before voting in 93 constituencies in Gujarat, the second phase of a closely watched state election which sees the ruling BJP, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress in a three-way fight.
Muslims make up for around 10 per cent of the state’s around 6.4 crore people, but Muslim women have next to zero representation in the legislature – a statistic mirrored on the national level as well.
With inputs from NDTV