The All India Muslim Women Association (AIMWA) held its first body meeting on Thursday at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, calling for the protection of Muslim women and students’ rights as well as the promotion of their educational, social, and economic development.
During the meeting, the organization identified several challenges faced by Muslim women and students in India, including issues related to security, forced evictions, relief and rehabilitation, the Hijab issue, safety, and security, and social reform. It called for the protection of human and constitutional rights and highlighted concerns over hate crimes and violence against Muslim women and girls.
In a statement, AIMWA said, “India is witnessing the initiation of bulldozer politics for the first time in its independent history, driven by anti-Muslim and hostile actions and policies of state and central governments. As a result, numerous women are now homeless and forced to live in the open in several states. We urge governments to protect the human and constitutional rights of these women. We appreciate the recent order by the Guwahati High Court, which mandates compensation for victims of evictions.”
The organization expressed gratitude to the Government of Karnataka for allowing female students to wear the Hijab during examinations and called for the reversal of the ban on the Hijab in other states.
“We urge upon other state governments to adopt similar inclusive measures and implement the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ approach,” the organisation said.
The organization also highlighted the challenges faced by Muslim female journalists and called for the immediate release of protesters who participated in the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“A Muslim Kashmiri journalist was prevented from receiving the award in Pune (Maharashtra institute of technology world peace university ) due to political pressure, another female journalist was stopped at airport when she was flying from Delhi to Paris to receive the award,” the organization said.
The AIMWA said that it’s working to eradicate the issue of dowry demands in marriages and discourage extravagant wedding ceremonies.
“We are working hard for social reform, eliminating dowry demands in marriages and discouraging extravagant marriages, counselling couples for marital disputes, within the Muslim community. We appeal to the Muslim Community to encourage simple marriages,” it said.
The organization in its statement appealed to “parents not to hinder their daughters’ pursuit of higher education.”
“We urge parents to encourage higher education of girls. Likewise, we urge Muslim Girl students to maintain their Hijab while pursuing their educational goals,” the AIMWA stated.
The organization also called upon charitable and welfare organizations to provide financial support for the education of underprivileged Muslim women.
In a plea to political parties, AIMWA requested that they prioritize the welfare of Muslim students and women, especially after upcoming state elections.
“We appeal to all secular and democratic political parties to prioritize the welfare of Muslim students and women, especially after their successes in the upcoming state elections. We appeal for unity among the Muslim community, the 10 crore women and girls, to transcend sectarian divisions and collaborate in building a just and righteous developed, and modern society,” it said.
“As concerned citizens of Muslim Community, we are deeply committed to addressing these urgent and pressing issues and challenges faced by Muslim women and students in India. We look forward to collaborating with all concerned likeminded individuals and groups, to achieve these goals in accordance with our core values and principles,” the organization statement further read.
During the meeting, Dr. Asma Zahra was elected as the President, with Mrs. Zakia Moin from Hyderabad, Mrs. Mamdooha Majid from New Delhi, Dr. Neelam Ghazala from Kolkata, and Mrs. Afroz Fatma Jafri from Noida serving as Vice Presidents. Ms. Uzma Parekh from Nagpur holds the position of General Secretary, while Ms. Huda Rawal will serve as the Organizing Secretary.