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Published in the 16-28 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Women's personal law board

By Masood Hasan

The Milli Gazette Online

Lucknow: Personal Law Boards are mushrooming in Uttar Pradesh. Muslim women are also making futile efforts to prove their mettle. They took a vow to prove themselves. They have now emerged in Uttar Pradesh as a force to reckon with and have the capability to launch a powerful and effective movement to uplift their lot. The Muslim women are not lagging behind, they too have formed the All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board challenging the authority of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) which is till now considered an apex decision-making body of the community.

...And a Shia women's 
panel too

Lucknow, Feb 5 : A group of Shia women has formed a personal law panel close on the heels of the formation of three new Muslim outfits independent of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). 

"We have formed a separate Muslim Law Board for Shia women," Tilat Rizvi, the self-proclaimed secretary of the outfit, said here.

The last 10 days have witnessed two divisions of the AIMPLB. A group of Shia Muslims declared the formation of an All India Shia Law Board, followed by another All India Muslim Women Law Board. Earlier in December, the Barelvi sect of Muslims had declared the formation of a parallel All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Virtually echoing the sentiment expressed by the leaders of these three panels, Rizvi too cited the reason for declaring an independent board for Shia women Friday as "an unfair deal at the hands of AIMPLB".

She said: "We are compelled to form a separate board for women because the newly formed Shia law board failed to give a single representation to women from the community." 

"AIMPLB never cared to have a single Shia woman as a member right from its inception in 1972, though Shia women had always been active in taking up the cause of Muslim women from time to time."

Rizvi hoped that the new board would not only go a long way in creating greater awareness among Shia women about their rights as enshrined in the Shariat and also help in their educational pursuits. 

"We also propose to set up a matrimonial cell for arranging marriages for Shia women," she added. 

She claimed that Shia women from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kanpur had joined the new board.

Shaista Amber, and Praveen Abdi have been appointed as the president and the general secretary of the All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board respectively. The president of the All-India Muslim Women Law Board, Mrs. Shaista Amber, told this correspondent that the decision to form Muslim Women Law Board came after deep thought and concerted efforts. The intention is very clear and pious, she pointed out blaming the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) ignoring and isolating problems of the Muslim women and that is why the need for AIMWLB arose.
Shaista Amber, a social activist herself has since a long time been associated with the cause of women, said that a big conference of Muslim women would be held in March to get the approval for the formation of the All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board formed in Lucknow recently and claimed that the conference would be a historic one. She pointed out that she had given a representation in writing to the AIMPLB appealing to the members of the Law Board to give more representation to women in the Board so that their problems could be raised and discussed threadbare and resolved promptly. She said that no heed was paid to her suggestion compelling the women to form their own law board. Citing examples, Shaista Amber told this correspondent that thousands of Muslim women who had been victimised by their husbands and later divorced are knocking at the door to get justice but the AIMPLB did not pay any heed and took no steps to resolve their problems. Shaista Amber asserted that she would contact women clerics passed out from Jamiat-ul-Mominaat, an institution of Islamic studies for women, Lucknow, for their cooperation and suggestion to solve the problems of the Muslim women.

Despite her aggressive postures against the AIMPLB, Shaista Amber told this correspondent that she had reposed full faith in the religious leaders of the community and expressed the hope that she would get their valuable support. She was very harsh to the lone woman member of the AIMPLB Begum Naseem Iqtidar and said that Begum Naseem Iqtidar did nothing for the welfare and betterment of the women of the community. She made a fervent appeal to the AIMPLB to provide a copy of the model nikahnama to her so that she could go through it.

Answering a question, she asked the members of the AIMPLB to clarify as to why the AIMPLB did not set up units in the districts of the state and did not launch any awareness campaign among the members of the community despite having all resources to meet the crisis gripping the community. She denied that the women’s law board was formed soon after the formation of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (Jadeed) by Maulana Tauqir Raza Khan of Barelvi sect and All India Shia Personal Law Board by Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar. The social activist described the formation of the women’s law board as the need of the hour.

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