This is from Bijay – from IIT, Powai, Bombay. He asks… ‘Islam’ does not allow intermingling of sex in work place – is this modernising or outdated ?- Please explain and ‘Can a woman work as an Airhostess, since it is a decent and highly paid job?

A. (Dr.Zakir): Regarding the first question, that Islam does not allow intermingling of sexes – Is this modernising or outdated ? If you mean by modernising, that you keep your women for sale, that you intermingle with them, or you can even take the profession as modeling, then I feel that Islam is outdated. Because women … by the Western media, by the Western cul­ture – they have said that they have given more rights to the women … they are raising the status of the women – actually they are degrading it. According to statistics, it tells us that 50% of the women in America, who go to universities and work places, are raped – Do you know that? 50%, why? – Because most of the jobs in America, involve intermin­gling of sexes. If you think that a lady should be raped, it is modernising, then Islam is outdated – if you think not, then Islam is the most modernising.

Regarding the 2nd part of the question – Why is not… does Islam allow a woman to work as an Airhostess, since it is a highly paid job, and a decent job. I do agree with the first part, I do agree it is very highly paid – But the second part, let us analyse. The Airhostesses are normally chosen… main criteria for selecting Airhostess, is beauty – you will never find an ugly Airhostess. They are selected because they are young, they are selected because they are attractive. They are made to wear clothes, which are against the Islamic ethics – they are made to wear cosmetics to attract the customers. They have to tend to certain needs of the passengers, which are mainly men, in which there is close proximity between the man and woman. And many a times the gents passeng­ers unnecessarily, they involve in conversation with the Airhostess, and even if the Airhostess wants to give fitting reply, she can not, because her job is at stake. Many a times, the passenger may say… ‘Madam please tie my seat belt’ – the Airhostess has no option, but she has to tie the seat belt. What is going to happen? – there is going to be close proximity between the opposite sex. Many Airlines also serve alcohol – Islam prohibits any man or woman to serve alcohol. That is the reason, all the Airhostesses are women. There are gents pursers… male pursers in the flight, but they rarely attend to the customers – they are in the kitchen. It is the opposite – In the plane it is the opposite… in the plane it is the opposite. And believe me, an Airlines cannot do without employing ladies. Even the Saudi Airlines, ‘Supposed to be’, in inverted commas … the most Islamic, ‘Supposed to be’, inverted commas … even they have ladies Airhostesses. But since they can not have Saudi girls … it will be difficult – they import the girls, they have foreign Air­hostess. Double standards … double standards – there is no option. The Airline is a profession, which… in which you have to have ladies to attract the customers – and you will be shocked to know that certain rules of Airlines. For example, Indian Airlines as well as Air India… it states that… ‘After you are selected, you cannot marry for 4 years’ – Some Airlines tell you that… ‘If you get pregnant, your job is terminated.’ Imagine, some Airlines say that… ‘You retire at the age of 35’ – Why?… Because you are no longer attractive. Do you call it a decent job?