Allow girls to study till fourth, fifth grade: Hifazat’s Shafi

Staff Correspondent, Chattogram
Published : 01:10, Jan 12, 2019 | Updated : 00:15, Jan 13, 2019

This updated file photo shows Hifazat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmad Shafi speaks at a progemme.Hardline group Hifazat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmad Shafi has advised people to allow girls to study no more than fourth or fifth grade.
“Don’t send your daughters to school and college. (If you do) you can allow them to study till fourth of fifth grade,” Shafi said on Friday (Jan 11).
Speaking at a programme after Jumma prayer in Chattogram’s Hathazari, Shafi said, “You read the newspapers, you know what happens if you let your daughters study eighth, ninth and tenth grades, Bachelor or Masters.
“Your daughters would be no more yours’ then,” Shafi said before making the audience a promise not to allow girls to study after fifth grade.
“If you let daughters study more other men will drag her, so keep this sermon in mind,” Shafi advised.
He went on saying, “Take care your girls so they can follow ‘purdah’.
“Make your daughter and her mother follow ‘purdah,” he said.
According to Islamic tradition, "purdah," refers that women must keep all parts of their body covered in public, except their eyes. Today, many Muslim women only cover their heads.
Several thousand people attended the annual gathering on Chattogram’s Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Muinul Islam, known as the Hathazari Madrassah, on Friday.
They promised to Shafi that they would follow his advice.
Shafi, who is head of the century-old religious institution, was no stranger to controversy.
Back in July 2013, a sermon of the 99-year-old cleric drew huge public backlash after its video went online.
In the video, Shafi was seen calling women tamarind, a fruit that any man would like to taste.
“You women should stay within the four walls of your houses. Sitting inside your husband's home you should take care of your husband's furniture and raise your children, your male kids. These are your jobs. Why do you have to go outside?” Shafi said.
He also raised the issue of working women’s character, saying families where both the husband and wife earned an income could not be united because of those women who “earn money through adultery.”
“If one sees a tart fruit, he will drool. Am I right or not? Women are worse than tamarinds. You look at women your heart will drool,” Shafi said.
Along with scores of others, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also flayed the Hifazat chief saying the remarks ‘disgusting' and 'distasteful'.
“What he (Shafi) said about women was very dirty and despicable. Doesn’t he have a mother, sister, wife? We have to defend the honour of our mothers-sisters-wives” Hasina told a Ganabhaban programme on Jul 13, 2013.
Shafi, however, later claimed he never called women tamarind.
“I just compared them to tamarind,” he said at a public rally in Chattogram on Nov 3 2013.