India’s first woman Imam receives death threats

Even before she could finish conducting her first Friday prayers India’s first woman Imam began getting death threats from Islamic radicals on social media. Jamida, 34, who broke stereotypes had become the first woman Imam in India recently. The general secretary of the Quran Sunnat Society, Jamida had conducted the Jumu’ah, the Muslim Friday prayer service – attended by 50 men and women – at the Society’s office in Malappuram district’s Wandoor village last Friday.

Jamida said she had been receiving death threats on WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube but was not afraid. She said she will not be cowed down by the intimidation and will continue to lead the ‘Jumu’ah’ congregation.

Jumu’ah prayers, held every Friday, are usually led by men.

“Comments and threats have been posted on social media saying I should not be allowed to live… that I should be burnt alive as I am destroying Islam,” Jamida told PTI.

“Those who are attacking me through social media are cowards,” she said, adding that she had not filed a police complaint.

Some Islamic clerics who are against Jamida and her reformist approach have come out against her and alleged that she is a Rashtriya Svyam Sevak Sangh (RSS) mole, executing a Sanghi agenda.

This is not the first time that Jamida who is popularly known as ‘Jamida Teacher’ in the area, received such threats. She was in the news when she openly opposed the conversion of “Love Jihad’ victim Akhila-Hadiya. Her house was attacked by Islamic radicals soon after (she had alleged radical Islamic outfit SDPI behind the attack) when she raised her voice against organised religious conversion. Jamida had revealed that concerted efforts are being taken by Popular Front of India and some radical organizations to trap Hindu-Christian girls into love affairs and convert them to use them for terror activities.

Jamida alleged that the police hush up the case of the attack on her house as a usual law and order problem caused by a drunken person. “If it were an innocent act of a drunken person, he should not be singling out my house. The accused had clearly targeted my house. He came with a purpose to kill me,” she had said.

The reformist woman leader fears for her life. A couple of decades ago, another reformist leader Chekannor Maulavi was killed by Islamists for criticizing orthodoxy. She fears that she would also face the same fate.