– Anwarulhaq Baig
New Delhi, Nov. 29: At a bizarre fashion show held at a college in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, students modeling burqas sparked a controversy, with Muslim scholars strongly objecting to it. As part of ‘Fashion Splash 2023’ at Shriram College, about 13 students walked on the ramp wearing Islamic attire – burqas and hijabs in the presence of the film actors.
While the organizers and participants of the fashion show defended the event, claiming it showcased the versatility of the burqa and challenged stereotypes associated with this Islamic dress code, Muslim scholars denounced the event, asserting that this Muslim religious attire should not be used as an item for fashion display.
Applauding the Muslim students, Manoj Dhiman, head of the department at the college, highlighted the growing global opportunities in fashion associated with burqa designs.
One of the participating students clarified that they wanted to showcase that the burqa could also be fashionable and not just a garment. Defending the event, Ravi Gautam, an official of the college said that it was conducted by students of fashion designing course and was meant to give them a platform to display their creativity.
However, expressing concerns that such shows could target a specific religion and potentially offend the Muslim community, Maulana Mukarram Qasmi, district convener of Jamiat-e-Ulama Hind, a prominent Muslim organization in India, cautioned the organizers that legal action might be taken if similar events occurred in the future. Maulana Qasmi stated that the burqa, which is traditionally worn by Muslim women to cover their bodies, is a symbol of dignity and honor. He explained that it is worn to protect women from the unwanted attention of men.
Emphasizing that the burqa is a religious dress, not a fashion accessory, Maulana Asad Quasmi, a senior Muslim scholar, stated that according to Islamic teachings, wearing such modest attire is essential for women.