Pakistani religious scholar blames women for spread of COVID-19 in country

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Islamabad: A popular religious scholar of Pakistan, Maulana Tariq Jameel, triggered a controversy after he blamed women of the country for the spread of Coronavirus.

He said women’s “indecency” and universities out to mislead the youth were to blame for the virus’ outbreak, reported Geo News.

The religious scholar made the controversial remarks during an event where he was invited to say a prayer during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Ehsaas Telethon a day.

“Who has torn honour to pieces in my country? Who makes my country’s daughters dance? Who is asking them to wear skimpier clothes? Whom should I hold accountable for this sin?” he was quoted as saying in the event by Geo News.

“When a Muslim’s daughter choose the path of indecency and the youth choose vulgarity […] the biggest curse of God was on the people of Lut (A.S) because they crossed all boundaries of indecency,” he said.

“God had cursed them five times. No nation was cursed more than once but they were cursed five times,” Jameel had said.

“The country’s colleges and universities, especially private schools, were making people go further away from religion,” he had claimed as he triggered the row.

Remark attracts criticisms:

The remarks attracted criticisms from different corners of society.

Pakistan’s  Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari attacked the religious scholar and tweeted: “Simply absurd 4 anyone under any guise to even suggest the COVID19 pandemic is a result of women wearing short sleeves or bec [because] of private schools/universities misleading the youth. This simply reflects either ignorance abt pandemics or a misogynist mindset. Absolutely unacceptable.”

“We will not accept the targeting of women on the pretext of such ludicrous accusations. We in Pakistan have fought hard for claiming our rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the Minister said.

Senator Sherry Rehman posted: “Why has Maulana Tariq Jameel not apologised to women yet? Because he needs to. He’s blaming this pandemic on Pakistani Womens’ alleged immodesty. This is grossly slanderous on many levels; totally unacceptable. Suo moto ka waqt yai hai. He is encroaching on fundamental rights.”

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan commented: “HRCP is appalled at Maulana #TariqJamil’s recent statement inexplicably correlating women’s ‘modesty’ to the #Covid19 pandemic. Such blatant objectification is unacceptable and, when aired on public television, only compounds the misogyny entrenched in society.”