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Fatah ka Fatwa: How netizen activists silenced Okhla-based participant; Women speak: Exclusive report by Al-Jazeera blogger

With campaign intensifies against Zee TV programme Fatah ka Fatwa, a poet and entrepreneur Shabnam Siddiqui was gagged by social media activists and was made to apologise for her participation in one of its recent episodes which discussed the issue of women in Islam, exclusive analytical report by Faizul Haque for OT.COM.

fatahkafatwaThe pressure was so intense against her that she had to tender a public apology,

“I, Shabnam Siddiqui, accept that I committed a major mistake by participating in the programme of Tariq Fatah. I had never seen any of his programmes earlier. I did not know that Fatah ka Fatwa was an anti-Muslim programme. In the programme, I met with some of the women including Aamina Shervani  who is against Muslims. By being part of this programme I committed a mistake. By this act, if anybody is hurt, I apologise for it,” Shabnam Siddiqui, who is also a resident of Okhla, wrote on her Facebook page.

She said: “I am very depressed. I committed a big mistake. Please forgive me. I never did like this before.” She said this was just first part of the episode and the next episode was to be aired soon in which she had favoured interest free banking system. But she was not sure, if that programme would be edited and her statements would be aired without being edited.

Talking to OT.COM, Shabnam said it’s important to make her stand clear, as she never intended to be part of a programme which had anti-Muslim agenda. “I went there to just to use it as an opportunity to present the real picture of Islam and remove the misconception that Islam does injustice with women. But it was a bad experience as I was not allowed to speak in detail and explain real Islam,” she said.

Another guest in the programme was Sheerin Masroor, UP President All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, who said she also got bricks and bouquets for her participation in the programme. She said she is not bothered what people say about the decision to participate in a debate. “It was my duty to be present in the programme and spread true picture of Islam. Muslim women should participate in such shows and present right picture of Islam. They should tell them that Muslim women while practicing Islam achieved a lot. I do not have any problem in attending such debates. I would continue to do so come what may,” she told OT.COM.

Tabassum Fatima, a journalist and commentator, who opposed the idea of participating in such shows, told OT.COM that this show is a conspiracy to support the conspiracy, the Zee News has got one “bhagora”.

“The channel is serving a particular agenda and it was trying to make the fatwa more popular. It is working on RSS’s agenda to foment anti-Muslim sentiments among Hindus. The Muslims who are participating in the programme proved to be a damp squib. They should have ignored the programme, refused to attend it and have not shown any interest in it,” said Fatima.

Seemi Yasmin, an activist and entrepreneur, said there was nothing wrong in participating in the programme. “But the producers or people behind such programmes play their own tricks. They either select weaker panel of the Muslim community or edit their comments as it suites them,” she said.

“It is a question why real experts and scholars of Islam, men or women, are not invited in such debates. If they are invited, they are not given ample opportunity to make their points as the people behind such shows have their own pre-set agenda,” said Yasmin.

“Participating in any programme or shows in not wrong. What you are saying in these programmes is more important and I am unable to understand the motive such programmes,” said novelist Ghazala Ejaz.

With Shabnam and Sheerin Masroor, two more women Amina Sherwani and Saltnat were also guests in episode 6 of the Fatah ka Fatwa programme aired on Zee News.

The programme is anchored by Tarek Fatah a controversial Canadian of Pakistani origin. For his, views he has created lots of controversy in the country and allegedly had supported the partisan politics in the country. He has attracted ire of the Muslim community for his views about Islam and Indian Muslims.

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