Zaira Wasim reacts to ongoing hijab row; calls ban on it an injustice Zaira Wasim (Photo credit: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Bollywood actor Zaira Wasim, who shot to fame after playing an important role in Aamir Khan’s Dangal (2016), has reacted to the ongoing hijab controversy that erupted in the Indian state of Karnataka a month ago at a college in Udupi. She said that hijab is not a choice for Muslim women, but an obligation in Islam.
Wasim took to social media and shared a lengthy post in which she spoke about “the inherited notion of hijab being a choice is an ill-informed one.” She said such an idea is “either a construct of convenience or ignorance.”
“Hijab isn’t a choice but an obligation in Islam. Likewise, a woman who wears the hijab is fulfilling an obligation enjoined upon her by the God she loves and has submitted herself to,” the 21-year-old wrote.
“I, as a woman who wears the hijab with gratitude and humility, resent and resist this entire system where women are being stopped and harassed for merely carrying out a religious commitment,” she added.
The Secret Superstar (2017) actress continued and called the ban on hijab and injustice, “Stacking this bias against Muslim women and setting up systems where they should have to decide between education and hijab or to give up either is an absolute injustice. You’re attempting to compel them to make a very specific choice that feeds your agenda and then criticising them while they’re imprisoned in what you’ve constructed. There is no other option to encourage them to choose differently. What is this if not a bias with people who confirm it acting in support of it?”
Wasim said she is saddened that the issue is being labelled as one about empowerment. “On top of all this, building a facade that all this is being done in the name of empowerment is even worse when it is quite exactly the opposite of that. Sad,” she concluded.
Her remarks come even as the Karnataka government, on Friday, submitted before the Karnataka High Court that the hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and preventing its use did not violate Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
The court is hearing petitions on the issue, but it has for now asked students to wear uniforms and refrain from wearing hijab or saffron scarves till the time the issue is resolved.
Wasim, who was last seen in The Sky Is Pink (2019) alongside Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar, quit her acting career in 2019 as it conflicted with her religious beliefs and faith.
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