In a bid to end the deeply-rooted dowry practice in the region, Muslim religious leaders in Birgunj have announced that they will not conduct any wedding where bridegroom and bride receive or provide dowry.
Speaking at a function organised by the Madarsa Organisation of Nepal in Chhapkaiya, Birgunj, on Saturday, the imams of madarsas and mosques declared that they would strongly stand against the dowry system. Religious leaders Kamarul Hoda, Mufti Jahur, Asgari Madani and Zahir Ansari assured that they would not conduct ‘nikah’—which refers to the contract of marriage in Islamic faith—of those people who demand and provide dowry. They called on every one concerned to work together against the dowry system as it has been a source of many social challenges. Stating that there is no mention of dowry in Islam, the imams said “it is our moral duty now to stand against the dowry practice”.
The Madarsa Organisation of Nepal has launched the anti-dowry campaign in Parsa and other Tarai districts with an objective to curb on the practice. Province 2, which comprises Parsa and seven other central Tarai districts, has been facing challenges of dowry, with a large number of dowry-related incidents reported every year. The provincial government has formulated strong laws to fight the menace.
On Saturday, a number of Muslim and non-Muslim leaders expressed their commitment not to demand and provide dowry during weddings.
Leader of Sanghiya Samjbadi Forum-Nepal Shashi Kapur Miya, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal’s Nijamuddin Samani, Mayor of Birgunj Metropolis Bijaya Kumar Sarabagi, social campaigners including Prakash Tharu, Surendra Kurmi, Brijesh Chaudhary, Om Prakash Sarraf among others addressed the function and vowed to stand against the dowry system.
Provincial Assembly lawmaker Sheikh Chandtara, who is also the former chairperson of National Women Commission, suggested that the anti-dowry campaign be taken to each village in the region. She claimed that dowry practice was the main cause of foetus killings and high dropout rates of Muslim girls from schools.
On the occasion, Muslim youth Shesh Munna was honoured for tying the knot without taking dowry.