• Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Lahore crowd angered by a woman wearing print dress with Arabic words

The woman stated that such clothing with Arabic calligraphy was commonly worn in Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia.

Arabic script printed white dress (Photo credits @semplicitakw)

By: Vibhuti Pathak

A young woman went viral for wearing a dress with Arabic script printed but for the wrong reasons.  An angry mob charged at the woman who was spotted in Ichra Bazaar of Lahore city in Pakistan.

A prompt action was taken by the police to save the woman as the agitated crowd accused her of blasphemy.

The situation turned unpleasant after someone alleged that the woman’s dress bore Quranic verses. However, some shopkeepers defended the woman and provided shelter in a shop, informing the mob that it was merely an Arabic calligraphy print.

The eyewitnesses stated that most of the people in the mob were either customers, visitors, or passersby, and the garment traders who rescued the girl were familiar with clothing featuring Arabic calligraphy available in the market.

A video circulating on social media shows the woman hiding in a shop, trembling with fear of being attacked by the mob on a blasphemy charge – an accusation that has led to mob lynching in many incidents in the past across the country.

The footage showed the girl denying the allegations of insulting religion, stating that she had done nothing intentionally, as clothing with Arabic calligraphy was commonly worn in Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia.

The shopkeepers also supported her views, saying that the industry has promoted clothes with Islamic/Arabic calligraphy, and the alphabet and words on her shirt had nothing to do with the holy verses.

The witnesses mentioned that even after the traders’ explanation, the mob got divided into groups with different views, but some zealots continued to insist on the ‘blasphemy’ charge.

In response, witnesses say one of the traders called the police to prevent any untoward incident that could harm the girl.

Meanwhile, some police officials reached the spot and, sensing the sensitivity of the situation, reported it to their superiors, who instructed them to act swiftly and rescue the woman to avoid any untoward incident.

The police who rescued the woman from the mob said “During my service, I have handled three such incidents, and you should have trust in us [police].” She then covered up the girl and personally escorted her out of the crowd, the clip shows.

A police team engaged the crowd, and some officials took the woman into protective custody, shifting her to the police station amid heightened security measures.

Senior police officers also reached the police station and inquired about the incident. They examined the dress and then briefed the charged crowd that the woman had not violated or disrespected the religion.

Another social media footage shows Gulberg Circle ASP Shehr Bano addressing the mob and attempting to convince them that no blasphemous act had been committed by the woman.

“During my service, I have handled three such incidents, and you should have trust in us [police],” she could be heard telling the mob. She then covered up the woman and personally escorted her out of the crowd, the clip shows.

The police officers explained that the meaning of one of the words, ‘Halwa,’ written in Arabic calligraphy on the dress the woman was wearing, was not a holy word.

Also, after the video went viral, a Kuwaiti clothing brand Semplicita, was also was made target for controversy. They responded by saying they had nothing to do with the Lahore harassment incident and the brand exclusively operates in Kuwait.

The brand also explained that words ‘halwa’ and ‘haya’ mean beautiful and life, respectively after they were targeted by Pakistani social media users on Instagram.

During an hour or so in custody of the terrified woman, ASP Gulberg circle briefed the media persons that the letters on the shirt the young woman was wearing have nothing to do with Quranic verses.

The woman, in her statement, strongly rejected the allegations of committing blasphemy, saying she could not even think of disrespecting Islam as she was from a religious family.

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