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Muslim Veils

All religions speak of Mohammed: scholars

Express News Service of India carried the following report of a conference of Muslim scholars. A Humanist reply to the points reported is shown in red.

Mumbai, May 21, 2003

The Islamic Education Centre, an educational forum, held a seminar on Sunday at Swastik Chambers, Pipe Road, Kurla, to discuss the life and teachings of prophet Mohammed.

The seminar began with a speech by Jamaat-I-Islami’s Mirza Afzal. Baig spoke on various prophesies contained in the scriptures of different religions, which hinted at the arrival of prophet Mohammed.

He began with the Hindu scriptures. ‘‘In the Bhavishya Puranas, there  is a  verse that declares the arrival of a mleccha  spiritual  teacher  whose  name  would  be  Mohammed,’’ said Baig.

Baig also discussed the Atharva Veda, which speaks of the arrival of a camel-riding rishi or sage. ‘‘It could only have referred to the Prophet, since the Manu Smriti specifies that Brahmins should not ride asses and camels,’’ he explained.

Baig also discussed Christian, Hebrew and Parsi religious scriptures. Asked if he believed these were signs of Islam’s superiority over other religions, Baig quickly disagreed, saying, ‘‘All this only shows that all religions are inter-connected and harmonious.’’

Suhail Baghdadi, a religious researcher, then spoke about what he called the popular misconception of the oppression of women by  Islam. He defended Islamic conventions, including the veil. ‘‘Veils ensure that women aren’t molested. A girl in a veil is safer than one clad in a mini-skirt,’’ he said.
Women who wear veils are still molested. Ask the women. Why doesn’t Islam specify that men should wear garments to inhibit male threats to women instead of penalising the women?
Roy Saich
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