Bengaluru-based Malayali woman Azniya Ashmin, who hails from Kozhikode’s Nadapuram, is well known — at least in the Kerala Facebook circle — for being an outspoken critic of an array of issues ranging from rampant sexism to religious fundamentalism and extremism.
She uploaded a photo of herself on Facebook, posing with three others, two men and one other woman, on February 16 and within no time, comments started pouring in. Captioned what translates to English as “only love”, the photo shows Ashmin sitting with friends, sporting a ‘bindi’ and not wearing a hijab.
That was enough to tick Muslim fanatics in Kerala off.
What started off as questioning Ashmin’s faith in Islam and asking her whether she’s “really a Muslim”, soon changed to calling her a “prostitute” and then escalated to issuing public threats. Such comments are often seen on photos posted by Malayali Muslim actors Asif Ali, Fahad Faasil and Dulquer Salmaan with their wives not wearing a hijab.
A comment on Azniya’s photo in question
The above comment translates to “aren’t you a Muslim? Aren’t you ashamed to sport a bindi”?
Azniya, did not hold herself back. Through sarcastic replies, she hit back at those who are criticising her choice of lifestyle and went on to critique Islamic fundamentalism and moral policing in general.
Ego hurt more than an average man can take, one fellow, whose Facebook profile goes by the name ‘Muneer Dheera’, threatened to pour acid in her face if she ‘barks against Islam’.
Comment by Muneer Dheera
For those who can’t read Malayalam, the above comment translates to, “let her live the way she wants. If her parents don’t care, why should we? But if she barks against Islam, acid should be poured on her face. Let’s see if such women would still have people to roam around with when their faces are deformed.”
To credit where it’s due, however, there were many Keralites who stood up for Azniya’s right to live her life the way she chooses to, and blasted those who tried to impose religion on her.