Hyderabad: It is good to educate girls, but they should be educated separately, suggests Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief Moulana Jalaluddin Umri, asserting that the "problem starts with co-education." He also favours death for rapists.
According to him, law alone cannot curb rapes. It was important for the government to change the social environment too.
"Obscenity is common in society," Umri told IANS in an interview. "The problem starts with co-education. We are saying educate the girls as much as you want, but give the education separately."
He said Islam had created an environment that does not tolerate sexual assaults.
"Today our society is tolerating and even accepting live-in relationships. This is opening the doors to evil. Why will (such a man) marry?"
Jamaat was formed in 1941 as an Islamic reformist movement. After partition, the organisation in India became Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and is engaged in spreading the message of Islam among the people irrespective of their religion and caste. With over 8,000 members and hundreds of thousands of workers, it has a good following among the Muslim community, especially in states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Umri wanted the government to recognise only marriages performed according to religious rites.
"Hindus, Muslims and Christians marry according to their customs. Only such marriages should be legally recognised," he said.
"Others are living together for years and then going to court to get that registered. Such relations are not good for society."
Death sentence for rapists and a ban on co-education and live-in relations were among the 11 suggestions submitted by the Jamaat last week to the J.S. Verma Committee on ensuring women's safety. He favoured capital punishment for rapists as it instills fear and acts as a deterrent.
"Islam says that such punishment should be meted out publicly so that people witness it and know that this will be the fate if they commit this crime," Umri told IANS.
Umri said that after the Dec 16 gang-rape of a young woman who died 13 days later in Singapore, many favoured emulating Islamic law to deal with rapists.
On the Welfare Party of India, he said it was not the political arm of Jamaat. He said they were supporting the party as it wanted to bring moral values to national politics.
"We have not yet decided to directly take part in politics and there is no possibility of this happening in coming days," he said.
Ameer-e-Jamaat, as he is called, said members of Jamaat can join the Welfare Party with Jamaat's permission. Such members will also have to take Jamaat's permission for contesting elections.
"We will see if (a person's) entry into assembly or parliament will be good or not.
"Some people thought there should be such a party and Jamaat was the first to support it. We never said we are forming the party."
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)