Chandigarh: After Karnataka hijab row, where the Muslim girls wearing hijabs or headscarves were were restricted from entering the schools and college premises, the shahi imam of the Jama Masjid of Ludhiana, Maulana Mohammad Usman Rehmani Ludhianvi has announced that he will soon set up a secular college for girls where they would be able to wear the hijab if they are Muslims, Sikh Amritdhari girls will be able to wear a dastaar and Hindu girls will be able to wear a tilak or whatever they wish to wear according to their religious leanings.
The college has been named after the present shahi imam’s father Hibib-ur-Rehman who had wished to open a college for girls from all religions, particularly, the ones who can’t afford education. “We intended to open it but we weren’t sure when. After Karnataka’s hijab row, we thought it should come up as soon as possible. It was our way of telling the world that we are a secular community and believe in secularism and are open to the preach all religions,” said Shahi Imam of Ludhiana Maulana Usman.
Mustaqeem, the spokesperson of the shahi imam added, “In fact, at the Habib College, Hindu girls will be taught Hindu religious texts like the Bhagwad Gita or the Mahabharata or Ramayana, Muslim girls would be taught Quran and Sikh girls would be taught preachings of the Sikh religion, Christians would be taught the Bible.”
He further added that there would be no compulsion to study religion or wear hijab, etc. Only if one wished to, one would have the complete freedom to do so. With this, political science, history, and economics would be taught and if one wanted to study Quran or Bhagwad Gita it would also be allowed. The best teachers would be appointed to teach such subjects. Also, various languages would be taught such as Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Punjabi, Hindi, and English.
The college is applying for affiliation from the Panjab University (PU) and will be coming up at Ludhiana-Jalandhar Road near Hardy’s World. The land has been bought and the foundation stone would be soon laid down by the girls belonging to four different religious communities.
The college will come up with the help of donations from the Muslim community across Punjab. However, if the Hindu and Sikh brethren also want to contribute they would be welcome, said Maulana Usman. Ahraar Foundation has been set up to oversee the construction work of the college which will begin soon.