20 July 2013, 19:49

Pakistan mullahs ban women shopping alone in north-west

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Muslim clerics in Pakistan's restive north-west have issued a ruling that would restore a Taliban-era ban on women visiting markets without the company of a male relative, police said on Saturday.

The decision was taken on Friday in a meeting by at least four imams of local mosques in the town of Karak in the militancy-plagued Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and announced the same day during afternoon sermons.

It was not known immediately whether Taliban militants played a role in the decision.

A police official said the clerics also met local police officials seeking help to implement it but "authorities refused to comply as it is against the law to stop anyone going shopping."

Dawn newspaper quoted Mualana Mir Zaqeem, a member of the committee that issued the ban, as saying that "the decision was taken because most unaccompanied women were becoming a source of spreading vulgarity, especially in the holy month of Ramadan."

Initially the clerics will implement the ban in Karak only, which is close to the Orakzai tribal district, where Taliban are active.

Shabina Ayaz, resident director of the Aurat Foundation, a non-profit group working for women's rights, said the clerics' decision was a violation of fundamental human rights.

"A handful of people cannot decide how women of Pakistan, who are half of its 180 million population, should live," she said.

Islamic cleric calls to ban women to use the air conditioner

A man who claimed to be a Salafist-Wahhibist cleric put wrote in Twitter that women should not flip on air conditioners at home because it sends the signal they’re home and that could lead to moral depravities, reports The Washington Times.

The alleged cleric said “turning on the cooler ventilator is prohibited for women in the absence of their husbands [because] the woman’s act is very dangerous, and may bring about immorality in the society. When she turns the cooler on, someone may notice her presence home, and this might bring about immorality,” International Business Times reported.

Salafists and Wahhibists are the ultra-conservatives of Sunni Muslims, hail from Saudi Arabia, and issue frequent fatwas — clerical rulings on Islamic law, IBT reported.

Earlier this year, in April, another cleric claiming to belong to the Salafist sect posted a YouTube video claiming rape of non-Sunni and non-Muslim women was acceptable, according to the Koran.

Voice of Russia, dpa, The Washington Times


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