The status of women in Afghanistan being restricted and decreased by the day under Taliban rule is not hidden from the world. Recently they limited how far women can study even in school and now a Taliban official’s statements about women and the need to keep them covered are doing the rounds.
A spokesman from the Taliban government spoke about how women would lose value if men can see their uncovered faces and that women need to keep their faces hidden.
Molvi Mohammad Sadiq Akif, the spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Vice and Virtue, speaking with the Associated Press on Thursday said that “It is very bad to see women (without the hijab) in some areas (big cities), and our scholars also agree that women’s faces should be hidden.
It’s not that her face will be harmed or damaged. A woman has her own value and that value decreases by men looking at her. Allah gives respect to females in hijab and there is value in this.”
What Did The Official Say?
Apparently, the reason given by the Taliban for banning women from most public spaces is due to them not wearing the hijab, or the Islamic headscarf, in the correct manner. Akif, as per reports claimed that if women’s faces are visible in public then it can lead to fitna, or falling into sin.
He also added that women can go to public areas given they meet certain conditions “You can go to the park, but only if there are no men there. If there are men, then Sharia does not allow it.
We don’t say that a woman can’t do sports, she can’t go to the park or she can’t run. She can do all these things, but not in the same way as some women want, to be semi-naked and among men.”
However, Tim Winter, the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University has reportedly said that Islamic scriptures have not mandated anywhere for face coverings and that the Taliban might not easily find the needed text in the scriptures that would support their interpretation of hijab rules.
He also told AP that “Their name implies they are not senior religious experts,” and that “The word Taliban means students.”
Furthermore, according to Winter the Taliban base their rules on textbooks used in village madrassas, and religious schools, and Muslim scholars that visited Afghanistan under the Taliban rule, both times, have not been impressed by the religious knowledge they found there. He said, “They have just been so isolated from the wider Muslim community.”
Besides this, there is a growing vocalisation for the human rights of Afghanistan women with the U.N. special envoy Gordon Brown even asking the International Criminal Court to prosecute Taliban leaders for “crimes against humanity for denying education and employment to Afghan girls and women” as per reports.
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