Few takers for 'arabi rumaals'
after terror taint
Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) Din Mohammad, a shopkeeper at the Batla
House market in south Delhi, used to sell at least 60 'arabi
rumaals' every month, but he has barely sold five in the last
20 days. There are few takers for the innocuous chequered
scarves, usually worn by Muslims to offer prayers, that have
come to be suddenly associated with terror.
have been shunning them after three youths suspected to be
behind the Sep 13 serials bombings in Delhi were shown on
television and in widely publicised photographs being produced
in court by police with their faces covered in the red and
I used to sell at least 60-70 scarves in a month, but in the
last 20 days I have sold only five. I am expecting the sale
to rise when people go for Haj," said Din.
"The sale of arabi rumaals has gone down after the controversial
shootout," Din told IANS.
shop is in an area close to the spot where two Muslim youths
alleged to be linked to the Delhi blasts were gunned down
by police in what came to be known as the Batla House encounter.
the city near Jama Masjid in the walled city, Imran, who sells
skull caps, scarves and rosaries, has a similar story: "Earlier,
I used to sell at least three to five scarves per day, but
now it has been reduced to one and sometimes even as little
as one or two in a week."
Bazaar, Nizamuddin and Jama Masjid are the areas of Delhi
where these scarves are sold wholesale.
Sattar, a wholesale dealer at Sadar Bazaar in central Delhi,
said: "There is a slump in orders, whether it is because
they (scarves) are being associated with terrorism or economic
recession is difficult to say, but we are hopeful that we
will get more orders in the coming months when people go for
the scarves are available in plain white as well, people have
for long preferred the ones in black-and-white or red-and-white
aged and elderly people who pray regularly form the main clientele
and the sale of these scarves is high during the month of
Ramadan and during Haj.
fact the scarf is a replacement of imama (turban worn by religious
imama is made of five yard cloth. Tying the imama is a time-consuming
procedure. The scarf is easier to use," said Maulana
Anzar of Saharanpur who had come to Delhi to meet his niece
studying in Jamia Millia Islamia.
scarves can also be used as jaanamaz (mat) to offer namaz
and to cover the head and face during summers and winters.
Associating it with terrorism is insane," Anzar said.
chequered scarves gained global fame and were also called
Arafati because of its use as headgear by Yasser Arafat, late
a mark of protest against the police act of producing suspected
terrorists in court with these scarves, Azamgarh MP Akbar
Ahmad appeared in parliament with his face covered by a similar
clerics feel that visuals of terrorists with their heads covered
with such scarves and that of police producing suspected terrorists
in the same manner have maligned the image of Ulema (religious
leaders) and common Muslims who are law abiding and want to
lead a peaceful life.
the stereotyping that a Muslim wearing a chequered scarf can
be a potential terrorist, terrorists, police and media are
equally responsible. The media show mainly those images of
terrorists in which they cover their faces with such scarves.
Police did the same thing when it produced three boys as suspected
terrorists with their faces covered with such scarves. This
is outrageous," Mufti Yasin of Deoband told IANS.