Burqa-clad men march draws criticism
KABUL (Pajhwok): A group of men, mostly young, on Thursday donned burqas --- an Afghan traditional female code dress --- marching through the capital Kabul to draw attention to women’s rights, but some residents criticized the demonstration that came on the eve of International Women’s Rights Day.
The 20 men, members of Afghanistan Volunteers Foundation, started their march from the Pul-i-Surkh Square in Kabul City and reached the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission’s office.
Ali Raza Asa, one of the burqa-clad activists, said: “By wearing burqas we want to show solidarity with our women who wore this for many years and share their pain that they spent much of their life wearing burqas, in which they breathed and endured hardships.”
Another activist, Abdul Basir, also said their demonstration had two messages for the world’s women --- how women feel in men-imposed burqas and March 8 (International Women’s Day) is not celebrated for women attending programmes in five start hotels.
“The day is only for women who are victims of violence…mostly burqa-wearing women happen to be a victim of violence, they are seen on roads, they roam the streets wearing burqas, but these women have never been invited to programmes in connection with the women’s day.”
“Living a life under burqa is difficult. I tried it and felt imprisoned,” said Massoud, one of the burqa-wearing men.
For men wearing women’s clothes to show solidarity with them was against Shariah, said a religious scholar, Shamsur Rahman.
“A man should not wear women’s dress against Islamic limits and Afghan culture to say he wants to show solidarity with women,” he remarked.
“The demonstrators themselves do not know the rights of women. Hijab has never been in contradiction with education. Hijab is not injustice, it protects women and burqa is Afghanistan’s oldest culture and Afghan women use it as hijab.”
The cleric said if the burqa-clad men were real sympathizers of women, they should avoid ill-treating their sisters, wives, mothers and neighbors and assist thousands of destitute women existed in Afghanistan.
Nilab, a 29-year-old resident of Kabul’s Qala-i-Zaman Khan locality, said she wore burqa on her own free will, felt better in burqa, which had not been imposed on her.
Nilab added: “We have inherited burqa from our grandmothers. It is not good to talk against burqa. Every country has its own culture, which should not be mocked.”
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