In A First, Woman Imam Leads Jumu’ah Prayer In Kerala’s Malappuram District, Faces Death Threats
January 30th, 2018
After a flashmob controversy, another Muslim woman in Kerala faces backlash as severe criticisms were drawn at her for leading Jumu’ah – the Friday prayer of Muslims. In an unprecedented move, Jamitha teacher, a 34-year-old woman Imam, led the prayer. Quran Sunnat Society, who conducted this prayer in Cherukode in Malappuram district said that she was the first woman in India to do so.
“I have been criticised a lot by elders of various factions for taking this step. There are men who will not like women taking these positions and being empowered. But the Quran is clear – there is no discrimination between man and woman. They have equal rights,” Jamitha teacher told NDTV.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, 80 devotees including men attended the prayer. The report says that the fundamentalists have threatened her, accusing her of defying the religious practices.
Social media has turned against her, drawing massive criticisms. At the same time, many on social media appreciated her initiative, terming it as ‘revolutionary’. She sought police protection after receiving death threats. “It’s written nowhere in Islam that women will be barred from leading prayers. We have to wean the religion from the hands of a patriarchal band of Imams and preachers,” she said.
A school teacher, Jamitha is the general secretary of Quran Sunnath society, an organization trying to reform Islam. Earlier, she had faced death threats when some people in Thiruvananthapuram turned against her for questioning some existing practices in the religion. “Quran is not discriminatory against women. People who interpret it do this. There is nothing in the holy book that prevents a woman from being an Imam,” she said.
Flash mob controversy
Many netizens unleashed abusive comments against three Muslim girls for performing flashmob in Malappuram district, Kerala. Many of them were trolled and severely criticised, with some people even terming the event as ‘the end of the world’. The flash mob was performed as part of an AIDS day awareness programme, and it was presented by students of a dental college in Malappuram. After the event became controversial, youth from across the state have organised flashmob at different venues as a creative protest.
The Logical Indian take
Reports say that Jamitha is the first woman in India to lead Jumu’ah – the Friday prayer of Muslims. The move should be appreciated as an attempt to overhaul regressive traditions instead, it was met with backlash. The Logical Indian severaly condemns the episode. It is unfortunate that even in 2018, women are not seen as equal to men and receive death threats for their efforts toward reformation.