NGOs “force” Nepali Muslims to use contraceptives and abortion
by Christopher Sharma
Several Islamic leaders from the poorest areas of the country speak out against non-governmental organizations, which will only provide humanitarian aid if households adopt their methods of family planning: “This is despicable, it goes against our faith and exploits our poverty”.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Non-governmental organizations operating in Nepal “impose contraception, abortion and family planning on Muslim women from the poorest districts. If these do not agree, they lose access to humanitarian aid and the ability to send their children to schools for free. This is really a despicable method that goes against our faith and exploits our poverty” Hassan Miya, a Muslim leader from Banke district tells AsiaNews.
“The Muslims who live in the remote districts of Nepal – continues Miya – are very poor, and in our society dominated by Hindus are ostracized in many different ways. The worst thing is that they can not 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”.
For some time, in fact, local press have been publishing articles that promote abortion and other forms of family planning. Today, one Nepalese newspaper had an article 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”. Several health workers mentioned in Article invite families to “have fewer children” in the name of economic well-being, and praise contraception.
The Health Minister, Gopal Parajuli, promises 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”.