?I wish we could stone him to death,? said Imam Abdul Khader Shah of Jumma Masjid, Bangalore?s oldest mosque, of the man (pictured, not named) who brutally killed his three-month-old daughter for not being a boy.
When news of Baby Afreen?s death broke out on Wednesday, so great was the anger in the city that even the Imam could not stop his emotional reaction when speaking to Bangalore Mirror.
Mincing no words about Umar Farooq, the religious leader said, ?He is what we call a zaalim, the most cruel of them all, to kill an innocent child.
According to Sharia Law, death by stoning (sansar) is permitted only for adulterers. But I wish we were allowed to stone him to death. He should know the pain of burning a young child with a cigarette when a stone hits him. As the Sharia Law stands, he can be whipped. And this should be carried out so that nobody dares to hurt a child again. Children are God?s gift and we have to accept them irrespective of gender. This man not only killed a child, but also ruined the lives of two women. How long can we stay silent and watch women being treated this way,? the Imam asked.
Mufti Ashraf Ali who heads the Darul Uloom Sabeelur Rashadh Arabic College, echoed the Iman?s sentiments. ?Even animals protect their children. There can be no forgiveness for this crime. What the religious law says is another matter. There are rules set by the administration too.
Implement them stringently. Give him the harshest punishment, even the death penalty. We have made technical advancements today to the point where we can murder a child in its mother?s womb. But that is not what any religion teaches. Why is the administration not being strict to save our daughters,? he asked.
But senior Congress leader and former minister Roshan Baig put the onus on the community. ?What is astonishing is that the moulanas and religious leaders who are quick to issue fatwas on every other matter have kept silent. Why are they not protesting now? Is a child?s innocent life not worth it? What is this we are practising now? Our community needs to take up the responsibility of creating awareness about the importance of keeping our children safe whether they are girls are boys. We are screaming about the decreasing sex ratio in Punjab, Haryana and other states and yet, our girl child is not safe in her own home,? he said.
The senior politician said that every platform needed to be used to create awareness. ?Religious heads should use this Friday?s sermon to condemn the incident. When I return to Bangalore, I will talk to Imams of all the major mosques and schools of thought about making this a topic of discussion to educate people. As for the father, he should be hanged and made an example of,? he said.
Shantinagar MLA N A Harris, who has a schoolgoing daughter, cannot believe it. ?In our community, children are given a lot of respect. As a father, I am still in shock. It is the cruelest thing any human being can do. He needs to be hanged to death,? he said.
All the leaders were united in the opinion that such an incident should never be repeated. ?It is everybody?s responsibility to ensure the safety of children,? Baig said.