Row of Ganesh idols: Karnataka Waqf board welcomes move but calls for separate namaz halls in schools

Following the controversy over allowing Ganesh idols in schools to mark Ganesh Chaturthi, the Karnataka Waqf board demanded the education department to allow Muslim students to also offer namaz in separate halls in schools and said Hindu students they should also embrace Muslim traditions.

Responding to Education Minister BC Nagesh’s announcement, Waqf Board Chairman Shafi Sahadi said, “We welcome the government’s move to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in schools, but at the same time, it would be ideal if the education department allows students to offer midday namaz and obligatory namaz in mosques every Friday. To maintain equality, it is important that Muslim students know about Hindu traditions and Hindu students know about Islamic traditions.”

Sahadi added, “The phrase Allahu Akbar is always related to terrorism. It is important for students to learn the real meaning of the phrase so that it clears misconceptions.”

Nagesh’s statement on Ganesh Chaturthi also drew criticism from the Campus Front of India, the student wing of the Popular Front of India, which called the statement hypocritical given the government’s opposition to girls wearing the hijab in classrooms.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru-based Islamic scholar Umar Shareef said, “I am not in favor of demanding a separate space for prayers. This would mean an unjustified escalation of conflict in educational institutions. Students can offer prayers till and all at home. However, when it comes to hijabs, we can only ask the government to allow girls to wear the hijab in schools and colleges according to Islamic traditions.”

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