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LAHORE: At least 50 clerics affiliated with a little known Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat have issued a fatwa (religious decree) that marriage with a transgender person is lawful.

The fatwa, released on Sunday, said a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a transgender with “visible signs of being a female” and vice versa.

But, the fatwa added, a transgender person carrying “visible signs of both genders” may not marry anyone.

It declared that robbing transgender people of their share in inheritance was unlawful and that parents who deprive their transgender sons/daughters of inheritance were “inviting the wrath of God”.

The clerics called upon the government to take action against such parents.

The decree also dwelt upon societal attitudes towards transgenders. It went to the extent of terming ‘haraam’ any act intended to “humiliate, insult or tease” them.

The fatwa ended with a word on last rites, declaring that all funeral rituals for a transgender person will be the same as for any other Muslim man or woman.

The clerics who issued the fatwa included Imran Hanfi, Pir Karamat Ali, Abu Bakr Awan, Masoodur Rehman, Tahir Tabassum Qadri, Khalil Yousafi, Gul Ateequi, Gulzar Naeemi, Intikhab Noori, Abdul Sattar Saeedi and Khizarul Islam.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2016