Hijab Integral Part of Islam; Courts Must not Interpret Religion March 15, 2022 April 23, 2022 Popular Front of India Chairman O M A Salam expressed deep disappointment over the Karnataka High Court judgment dismissing the petitions against the Hijab ban. Karnataka High Court’s dismissal of Muslim girl students’ petition holding that Hijab is not an essential part of Islam is deeply disappointing. The judgment is against the spirit of constitutional values of fundamental rights and pluralism. The court’s insensitivity to the sentiments of Muslim women in the country who have held Hijab as an integral part of their faith and identity is shocking. The court is setting a new precedent by interpreting religious texts against a practice that the majority of the believers have held valid as per their understanding of the texts of Islam. This cannot be accepted. The question was essentially about the fundamental right of Muslim women to wear the clothes of their choice, not what is essential or nonessential in Islam. In a democratic country, the right to interpret the text should have been left to believers. By comparing Hijab with the saffron shawl, the court seems to have fallen for the tactics of Sangh Parivar. There is a valid concern that the judgment will be used as a validation for right-wing groups to continue to harass Muslim women over their choice of clothes. Popular Front rejects this verdict and urges the community leaders to jointly explore legal and democratic options to challenge it. Director, Media & PR,Popular Front headquarters, New Delhi.