President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Response to Karnataka High Court Order Restricting the Wearing of Headscarves in Colleges in the State (Mar. 15, 2022)

The President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in India, Asaduddin Owaisi, responded to a recent Karnataka High Court decision ruling that ḥijāb, or wearing a headscarf,  is not "essential" in Islam, and that state colleges could validly bar Muslim women from wearing it on their campuses. He disagrees with the Court decision on grounds that it goes against the Indian constitution's fundamental rights to freedom of religion, culture, speech, and expression. He further concludes that the decision interferes in an individual’s right to worship. More broadly, his concern lies with secular state courts making decisions on what is or is not essential religious practice, noting that such questions are between an individual and God. He concludes that the High Court's decision will force Muslim women to decide between “Allah’s command to be educated” and God’s commands that facilitate spiritual connectedness in responding to what they understand to be a religious obligation, such as wearing ḥijāb.