July 09, 2018


A madrassa in northern Kerala has allegedly expelled a girl student for sporting a bindi on her forehead while shooting for a short film, her father claimed in a Facebook post which has now gone viral. In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Ummer Malayil said his daughter Henna was shunted out of the madrassa she studied in from this academic year because she sported a ‘chandana pottu’ (a bindi using sandalwood paste) on her forehead for a short film shoot.

“Along with studies, she has proven her talents in singing, extempore and acting. Always a first rank holder in school and the madrassa. She has excelled at district and sub-district levels. She was the fifth rank holder in the public examination conducted by madrassas. And yet, she was expelled from the madrassa from the current academic year, because she sported a bindi while acting for a movie. What to do! Lucky, they didn’t sentence her to get stoned to death,” Malayil wrote in his post. He also shared a photograph of his daughter with the bindi.

Within no time, the post from Malayil’s public account went viral, drawing sharp reactions from all sides. Many congratulated him for taking a strong stand against the madrassa and extended support. At the same time, there were others who derided his move as an attempt to tarnish the image of Islam and the values it stood for. The post received a substantial amount of criticism and personal abuse along with positive reactions.

While Ummer declined to comment on the controversy or the status of his daughter’s expulsion, in a fresh post on Facebook earlier today, he responded to his critics stating that he continues to be a strong believer of Islamic values.

“To those who are trying to fish in troubled waters, do not celebrate this. This is not a global issue. Do not try to tarnish a religion by taking advantage of such a situation. This is purely an isolated, local issue. As you say, I am not a man who opposes my community. I am 100% a believer. Along with loving my religion, I support and respect other religions. I love humanity,” he wrote.

“To those who showered me with abuse, did you even try to find out the truth behind the situation by talking to me on Messenger? After then, you could have sung your songs of abuse and trolled me with video clips and what not,” he wrote.

Ummer asked why his daughter was singled out for expulsion when several female batchmates of hers, studying in different schools, often participated in cultural events sporting bindis. “Isn’t this common, how children, along with studies, sing and act? My protest was only about this,” he wrote.

Ummer did not respond to requests for comment.