In a first, a toll-free helpline was launched for Muslim women to help them deal with family disputes and education. But guess what? Since its launch last year, the all-India helpline, which is a brainchild of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), received more calls from men than women. Shocked? We were too!
Reportedly, the helpline for women on Islamic law, which clarifies divorce issues, especially matters of triple talaq and property rights for women, has got the majority of calls (70%) from men, according to the counsellors.
The helpline was set up to guide distressed Muslim women, ensuring education on various aspects of the Sharia law, especially to inform them on the practices of triple talaq.
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The debate raging across the nation led AIMPLB to launch a helpline to let Muslim women seek right answers. But turns out, Muslim men are the ones who need more clarification on the subject more than women, or is it?
“Out of every 10 calls I receive, 7 or 8 are from Muslim men. Two or three are from women. The frequently asked questions range from the proper process of talaq, property rights of women and others,” Uzma Alam, joint secretary of All Bengal Muslim Women’s Association, told Hindustan Times.
“Since it is a helpline for women, we generally pass on our email ID and ask them to mail their queries,” she added.
To look into burning issues such as this, the all-India helpline was launched in Urdu, English and eight regional languages.
“It has been decided for the first time that we will form a women’s wing to go into issues concerning Muslim women and an all-India Muslim women helpline, a toll-free call centre in Urdu English and 8 regional languages,” Kamal Farooqi, a member of AIMPLB had said earlier, as DNA reported.
The helpline covers different parts of West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad and some other states too.
“Sometimes, there are a dozen calls in a day, sometimes fewer. But 70% plus calls come from men. Some want to know the procedure of second marriage, some want to talk about their sons and daughters. We try our best and help out,” Yasmeen Farooqi told Hindustan Times from Jaipur.
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“I think a large number of men who call lack proper understanding of religious laws. For instance, one of the men said that he has given talaq to his wife in a fit of anger and now wants to get her back. We even got calls from men saying that his wife is harassing him and he wants to know what is the way out,” Alam, who is also the convener of Calcutta Muslim Orphanage, said.
According to Alam, those women who call generally ask about other information on employment and education, giving a total ignore to the talaq issue.
However, a very good point was raised by Syed Tanveer Nasreen, the head of the department of women’s studies at Burdwan University, who said that if most of the calls are coming from men, then it is evident that Muslim women are still not allowed to make their own decisions.
“If 70% of the calls are from men, it shows that a large section of Muslim women can’t even dare to make a telephone call and speak for themselves. Either they are queries from men and sometimes their brothers or father call up and do the talking,” Nasreen said.
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