Kathmandu, 6 Dzulqa’dah 1435/1 September 2014 (MINA) – Several Nepali Muslim leaders have complained that non-governmental organizations were forcing Muslim families, particularly women, to use contraceptives and abortions or lost chances of getting humanitarian aid or free education for their children.
“This is despicable, it goes against our faith and exploits our poverty,” Hassan Miya, a Muslim leader from Banke district, Onislam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting, Monday (1/9).
“The Muslims who live in the remote districts of Nepal are very poor, and in our society dominated by Hindus are ostracized in many different ways,” he added.
Need for humanitarian aid was not the only problem facing Nepali Muslims as the leader went on to describe their calamity for facing the possibility of denying their children an education if they opposed NGOs’ family planning methods.
“The worst thing is that they cannot afford to pay school fees for their children: NGOs arrive, offering money and free education but in return they impose family planning. From my point of view it is a conspiracy against the country’s minorities,” Miya added.
Similar claims have been increasingly made in the media in the Hindu country which praised these plans in the name of economic well-being.
This policy has been made clear in an article shared by a Nepalese newspaper on the area of Bajura.
“Muslim women believed that planning was a shame, but those of the district of Bajura have realized that it is not. Though Islam prohibits the use of contraceptives many women of this place have challenged this prejudice,” the article reads.
Facing rising Muslim complaints, Health Minister, Gopal Parajuli, promiseed that he will investigate the issue.
“The free health and education programs should not affect the religious beliefs of anyone. I will open an investigation, also because NGOs can work only if they comply with the laws and are accepted by the society,” he said.
Islam encourages its followers to marry, procreate, and populate the earth. Yet, it allows family planning and the use of contraception as long as the conditions set by Islam in this regard are observed.
Family planning is allowable as long as the method employed is not irreversible as the case in vasectomy for example.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Muslims constitute 4.2 percent of Nepal’s 28-million population.
Nepal was the world’s only Hindu state till 2006 when the parliament amended the constitution and declared it a secular state.
Most of Nepal’s Muslims live in the southern plains on the borders with India.
Residents of impoverished southern belt say they have long been excluded from Kathmandu’s corridors of power and want increased representation in the government and army.(T/P008/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)