Change patriarchal system to stem rape, say Muslim clerics

Mumbai, Dec 21 (IANS) Rape can only be stemmed through a change in the present "capitalistic, patriarchal" social system, a group of Muslim clerics said Friday as they condemned the "horrifying and spine-chilling" gang-rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi.

Demanding justice for the girl, who is battling for life in a Delhi hospital, the clerics said in a statement: "The Delhi gang-rape is a horrifying and spine chilling incident. We are in the state of shock and deep sorrow since we heard this news. We strongly condemn such a shameful act and demand strict action against the culprits."

"The crime of rape can be stemmed only through change in the present capitalistic, patriarchal social system which influences the minds of young people very severely. Only widespread condemnation and anger does not solve the crime against women," the statement said.

The statement, describing the incident as a "terrible, terrible atrocity", was signed by Maulana Moinul Haque Aleemi, president of Darool Uloom Aleemiya, Maulana Abdul Jabbar Azmi of Chishti Hindustani Masjid, Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan of Sunni Badi Masjid, Mufti Manzoor Sahab of Chota Sonapur Masjid, Maulana Irfan Aleemi of Aleemi Movement of India and Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf.

"Horrific cases of violence against women seem to happen with disturbing regularity, many of them occurring in the national capital. This is an expression of our horror and anger and discontent at how things are."

The group pointed out that the security in mobility for a woman is the first right she needs to be guaranteed, and failure to ensure this is clear failure of governance.

"We need to discuss seriously at every level, in our homes, public forums the incidence of increasing violence against women, for it requires a complete change in the entire system of governance and lawmaking and the society," the clerics added in their progressive statement.

The group urged the general public to boycott all those who treat women with disrespect, as well as indulge in any form of discrimination and violence against women in our immediate environs, and if required make the boycott public as well as a social weapon.

Over the last two days Mumbai has expressed its solidarity with the victim and strongly condemned the crime by organising protest marches and candlelight vigils.

Volunteers from Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has also organised a protest march Thursday at Khargar, in Navi Mumbai, to highlight acts of violence against women that is taking place in most metro cities in India.

The torture and the gang-rape of the physiotherapy intern in a moving bus in Delhi Sunday night has shocked the nation. Delhi Police has arrested four men and detained another for the incident, in which the girl's male friend was also beaten.

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