By Hamza Saeed
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has caused controversy by declaring “self-perceived identity” to be un-Islamic. The council reviewed the Transgender Persons (Rights of Protection) Act Rules and concluded that the provisions contained within were not compatible with Shariah.
The CII expressed concern about the social and legal problems faced by intersex and transgender people and called for the protection and provision of basic human rights for these groups. The council examined amendment bills presented by Senators Mohsin Aziz, Mushtaq Ahmed, and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidari and suggested amendments to them.
CII Chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz while speaking to Voicepkdotnet said that self-perceived identity can lead to a host of problems in society. He said that the matter is still under discussion in the Federal Shariat Court. He further said that the council received two contrasting viewpoints regarding the applicability of self-perceived gender identity by the transgender community. One group, he said, was against it and was of the opinion that it causes more harm than benefit. While the other group supported it.
In attendance at the two-day meeting were renowned religious scholars and leaders, representatives of the transgender community, doctors, legal and social experts, civil society organizations, the National Database and Registration Authority, and the Ministry of Human Rights. The meeting aimed to review all aspects of issues pertaining to the intersex and transgender community.
Reem Sharif, a transgender rights activist, who was in the meeting spoke to Voicepkdotnet and said that Chairman CII, Qibla Ayaz accepted the need of further deliberations when she presented medical, legal and social evidences in the support of transgender identities. She said the whole thing was pre-planned and the transgender community will now have to bear the brunt of it. She added that no religion can alienate people with medical conditions and that Iran, another Muslim country facilitates in gender transitioning.
She further added that medical boardkeeping can only be done by psychiatrists or psychologists on the basis of their gender dysphoria not by any physician by looking at the bodies as it is both medically and ethically wrong.
Transrights activist Mehlab Sheikh in conversation with Voicepkdotnet said that the council supported self-perceived gender identity in its report of January 2018 and found it to be in-line with the Islamic teachings. She added that at such a time when the transgender community faces violence and attacks, there should be an empathetic response instead of restricting humans of their fundamental rights.